On Saturday night at Tullahoma High School, WCHS football alumni put on their pads and helmets, some for the first time in over 20 years, and they didn’t disappoint.
Several former Pioneer players included running backs, Alan Perkins and Cameron Lusk, offensive lineman Tommy Davis, defensive lineman Andrew Reagan, wide receivers Lamont “Bone” Blevins and Heath Crisp, linebacker Jeremy Chisam, and quarterback Preston Smith, among several others.
The Pioneers made a statement and proved they’re not done yet as they defeated the Tullahoma Wildcats alumni team, 35-27, to claim the illustrious Coffee Pot rivalry trophy.
Before the game, the Pioneers dedicated an honorary jersey to Chris King’s family. King died last year and was a member of the WCHS football team in the 1990s.
Perkins was a top rusher for the Pioneers as he had 80 yards on 11 carries and was named game MVP. Elias Smith caught three touchdown passes, earning offensive player of the game honors, while Frankie Martin Jr. won special teams players of the game and Chisam won defensive player of the game honors.
Smith put on an aerial assault as he threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 50 more and adding another TD.
Cameron Lusk had 100 yards rushing.
The Pioneers started their second drive near midfield and were looking to get the first points on the board. Smith threw a ball up to Blevins, who drew a pass-interference call that set up the Pioneers in the red zone.
A play later, Smith threw into coverage and was intercepted, ending another promising drive and the quarter ended scoreless.
The Pioneer defense continued to stand strong in the beginning of the second quarter as the Wildcats did nothing on offense.
After a Wildcat punt, on another three-and-out, the Pioneers drove the field and got the ball down to the Wildcat 15-yard line thanks to some powerful runs by Perkins and Lusk.
Preston Smith stepped back in the pocket and escaped pressure as he scooted to the outside of the defense, crossing the goaline, to score the first points, 7-0.
The Wildcats answered quickly and drove the ball down the field and punched it in from a yard out to tie the game.
The Pioneers started to take control on the next drive when Preston Smith found Elias Smith, with a beautiful pass, beating the secondary for a long touchdown, 14-7.
The back-and-forth game continued as the Wildcats drove the field on the next drive to make it a one-point game, midway through the second.
The score remained the same as the extra-point was blocked by the Pioneers as they continued to lead, 14-13.
Preston Smith found Elias Smith again on the next Pioneer drive to extend their lead to seven, 20-13.
The Pioneers intercepted the ball on the next Wildcat drive to set them up in good field position with a couple of minutes left to play in the half.
Preston Smith found Elias Smith as he beat the defense for the third drive in a row to give the Pioneers the double-digit lead.
The Pioneers successfully ran a two-point conversion and lead at the half, 28-13, thanks to an impressive showing on both sides of the ball.
The Pioneers scored only once in the second half thanks to R.J. Perkins running the ball in and had to fend off a late Tullahoma rally and recover an onside kick.
Tempers flared on both sides toward the end of the game but the Pioneers ultimately came away with the victory, 35-27.
The Pioneers will face the DeKalb County Tigers next year at Nunley Stadium.
“We are ready to do it again at home so get ready for us to get another win against the Tigers.” offensive lineman Chris Owens said.
“We were excited to represent Warren County and were determined to bring home a victory. We strive to be leaders on and off the field and hope our spirit to compete will inspire future and current athletes in Warren County to win, if possible, and to give everything they have every day in the effort, regardless of the outcome,” said Pioneer alumni Greg Moore.
“We came out and played as one and we wanted to set the tone for the younger generation,” said Preston Smith.
“The night meant a lot more than just football. Two communities came together and supported something positive as well. Men young and old stood beside each other and played a game they love and a team had to win but we all won by creating opportunities for those who thought it couldn’t be done,” Timothy Davis said.