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Passing game on display during 7-on-7 scrimmage
Football - Drathan in traffic.jpg
Pioneer junior Drathan Dixon goes up to make a contested catch in traffic in a 7-on-7 passing drill against Tullahoma on Tuesday. Dixon caught the ball, kept his balance, and ran in for a TD on the play.

There will be new faces on the field for the Warren County High School football team this fall.

A familiar face was one of the many Pioneer playmakers Tuesday during a 7-on-7 passing scrimmage against Tullahoma at WCHS.

Braylon Grayson, an all-region performer last season as a sophomore, was snagging catches, making moves, and running away from defenders for two touchdowns.

Warren County and Tullahoma finished about even in the scrimmage where score wasn’t kept. Other offensive stars for the Pioneers were juniors Drathan Dixon and Harley Hernandez. Nate Elrod, another junior, was very active defensively and broke up several passes.

Passing scrimmages like this one are a chance for quarterbacks to work on timing with receivers without a pass rush. Players are in helmets only and there is no tackling to the ground. It’s also a chance for the secondary to work on different coverages.

“The kids understand what’s going on and this is a chance to get them more reps,” said Pioneer defensive coordinator Camron Bond. “We’ll have a lot of new players out there, but they’re working in well.”

Linemen from Warren County and Tullahoma worked on drills separately inside The Facility.

Pioneer defensive line coach Malik Keeley said one of his main objectives was to focus on intensity.

“What I need to see is some fire in their eyes. I need some kids to step up,” said coach Keeley.

One major difference Tuesday was Tullahoma quarterback Ryan Scott did not throw an interception. Scott, a senior, is a returning starter who the Wildcat coaching staff says has a chance to have a very strong season.

Warren County alternated junior Nate Elrod and sophomore Alex van Vuuren at QB. Both showed they could make throws, but interceptions were costly.

Two interceptions made by Tullahoma in the flat likely would have been returned for TDs in a game. Another interception came when the Pioneers were at the goal line.

Drathan Dixon flashed his skills on two catches he took to the house. On his second TD, Dixon made the catch with a defender in his face. He snatched the ball out of the air, kept his balance as he spun around, then darted to the corner of the end zone for a score.

Harley Hernandez, a speedster, showed he can get behind the defense. Hernandez made a pair of over-the-shoulder catches on deep passes to send a message he may be a vertical threat this season.

The Pioneers showed a tendency to look deep as Braylon Grayson caught a bomb down the sideline from his wingback position.

Afterwards, WCHS head coach Matt Turner told the players they can build on Tuesday’s effort. He told receivers it’s important to run their routes, even if they’re not getting the ball, because proper route running will open lanes for other players. 

Turner told receivers not to get upset if the ball isn't coming their way as often as they want. He stressed a team concept when it comes to fielding an effective offense. 

Next up for the Pioneers is a 7-on-7 scrimmage this Saturday at Ravenwood.