The Pioneers ended their preseason Friday night in Sequatchie County with two close losses.
Warren County High School lost a close one to Rhea County, 3-0, and followed that with an equally close loss to Grundy County, 8-7.
Warren County started its night against Rhea County seeking revenge after the 7-0 loss from last year’s jamboree scrimmage. The Pioneers almost achieved that, only allowing a field goal to be scored.
Their quarter against the Rhea County Eagles saw defensive playmakers Braylon Grayson and Nate Elrod making tackles, including the two double- teaming Rhea’s running back. Soon, the Eagles were faced with a fourth down at the 31-yard line. When the quarterback attempted a throw, Dayton Jernigan swatted it down where Rhea County’s offense caught it.
With the ball still live, the Eagle made a break for it and secured another first down. Rhea County came scarily close to a touchdown getting a first down at the 9-yard line, but a penalty on third down set them back. From there, they attempted a throw in the end zone that was no good. On fourth down, they scored a field goal taking a 3-point lead over the Pioneers.
Alex van Vuuren proved he was strong offensively on the receiving end of QB Nate Elrod’s throws as he made a first down at the 29-yard line with a catch of over 30 yards. This is where the Pioneers’ luck would run out as the Eagles kept them from going much farther. Plus a holding penalty on WC set the Pioneers back, ultimately costing them possession.
This ended the quarter against Rhea County, but Warren County was just warming up to face Grundy County. Once again, the Pioneers started on defense, but as the Yellow Jackets faced a third down with one yard to go, Warren County pushed them back to a fourth down. Gaining possession early, Jaythan Pleasant wasted no time as he showed his blazing speed to rush for 50 yards for a first down to Grundy County’s 33-yard line.
After 2 more downs and 9 yards to go, Pleasant went wide again making another first down at the 10-yard line. As the Pioneers were gearing up for a touchdown, Grundy County recovered a fumble at their own 5-yard line to make a tragic turnover.
Pioneer Andrew Miller made a tackle for a loss at the 3-yard line, pushing Grundy County back. Looking to get out of their end zone, the Yellow Jacket quarterback attempted to throw the ball down field. Unfortunately for them, the throw went right into Alex van Vuuren’s hands, giving possession back to the Pioneers and, in
fitting fashion, van Vuuren later scored the TD.
With :30 left, the Pioneers were up 7-0 and feeling good. However, Grundy County didn’t quit fighting as the quarterback threw the ball from the 37-yard line down the field where a Yellow Jacket caught it and made a swift touchdown.
With 15 seconds left in the quarter, Grundy County set up for an apparent extra point attempt, but a quick fake saw the Yellow Jackets score a 2-point conversion instead.
Grundy County now had a 1-point lead over the Pioneers with only :15 left. In that time, van Vuuren caught the ball at midfield for a first down, but the Pioneers couldn’t get down field in time as the clock expired and Warren County lost, 8-7.
The Pioneers start the regular season this Friday on the road at DeKalb County with kickoff at 7 p.m.