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Pioneers boast stable of backs
Jay Rozier.jpg
Senior Jay Rozier brings plenty of experience to the Pioneer backfield. Rozier has rushed for 80-plus yards in five games, including a career-high 104 yards against Riverdale last season.
Hunter Burch.jpg
Hunter Burch

If there’s one position where the Pioneers will be able to tout their depth, it’s in the backfield. Warren County is stocked with ball carriers and has tailored its offensive philosophy to take advantage of its multiple talented backs.

The Pioneers are looking to employ the Pistol T, which will put three backs in the formation. New running backs coach Alan Perkins believes it will be perfect for his stable of runners.

“In this offense, there’s a lot of misdirection and deception,” said Perkins, who rushed for 981 yards and 17 touchdowns in the 1994-95 seasons for Warren County. “One play, our backs may be running straight up the middle or making fakes or running routes.”

The Pioneers have players who specialize in one or can do it all.

Senior Jay Rozier has been the most productive in the past. Over the last two seasons, Rozier has piled up 750 yards and six touchdowns.

CJ Taylor, who is competing at quarterback as well, would add another dimension. Taylor had 150 yards in the season opener last year, showing his game-breaking ability.

Add in Xander Lee, Dante Elam and new addition Lacederick Cox and the Pioneers can attack from multiple points.

“They all have something they’re good at – hitting people, speed, catching out of the backfield and getting the tough yards up the middle,” said Perkins. “We plan on scoring and scoring a lot. We’re going to play fast and keep our defense off the field.”

Here’s a 3-2-1 breakdown of the Pioneer backfield

Three observations

There’s some thunder – Rozier and Lee, both over 200 pounds, are two of the strongest players on the Pioneers. Both have shown flashes in the past, with Rozier rushing for over 100 yards against Riverdale last year and Lee pounding out 73 yards against Siegel. Give these two enough carries and defenses will be tired of tackling them by the fourth quarter.

… and lightning – When the defense as has enough of the bludgeoning, Warren County can counter with speed. Elam may be the fastest of the bunch. If the junior gets the corner, he’s a threat to go the distance.

Depth will be vital - Every player who will see touches on offense will likely play some role on defense as well. Because of the two-way strain – and the offense having three backs on the field at one time – more bodies will be need. Seth Meeks, Hunter Burch and Kevin Sifuentes all could see multiple snaps per game.

Two questions

Can the Pioneers split touches to their playmakers? CJ Taylor proved last year he is deserving of 10-20 touches per game. He’ll get them, either at quarterback or out of the backfield (or at receiver or special teams – he can do it all). Rozier gets better when he gets more touches. Lee is a bulldozer. Elam and Cox are elusive. There’s only one ball and lots of guys who could get it.

Will Warren County protect the ball? The Pistol T involves plenty of pre-snap motion and some sleight of hand to get defenders out of position. Warren County is slowly working in layers to its offense, which was slowly installed in the spring. With anything new, it will take time to iron out issues. The Pioneers hope one isn’t ball security.

One Prediction

At least one night this fall, everything will click for the Warren County ground game and the team will put up over 350 yards. 

This is Part two of a 10-part series breaking down the Warren County football roster. Next will be wide receivers and tight ends Friday, July 26.