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Pioneers cap off season with banquet
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The Warren County High School football team gathered one last time Saturday night to hand out awards for the 2011 season.
The Pioneers held their annual banquet at WCHS cafeteria where players were honored by coach Tommy Johnson for solid individual performances during the course of the season.
Coach Johnson made it a point to stress perseverance to his team following a 0-10 year. If one thing stood out to the second-year head coach, it was the determination his team continued to show while facing adversity.
“If there was one positive from this season it was that our team came together and didn’t quit,” said Johnson. “Perseverance builds character and these young men kept working until the end.”
Coach Johnson handed out awards for a team MVP, offensive and defensive MVP, most improved on offense and defense and most consistent on offense and defense.
Senior MaCrae Thomsen was the recipient of the team MVP award. Thomsen was the only two-way starter for the Pioneers this season, splitting his time between center and linebacker. Thomsen played seven games during the season before missing the final two games with a shoulder injury.
Thomsen was the undisputed leader of the Pioneers from the start of camp. The coaching staff praised Thomsen throughout the season for his work ethic on and off the field and the leadership he provided in the locker room.
Thomsen finished the season with 32 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
Sophomores D’Andre League and Lee Carden garnered the offensive and defensive MVP awards. League was the offensive MVP after finishing second on the team in rushing and third on the team in receiving. League rushed for 424 yards and three touchdowns while adding 197 yards on 19 receptions and a touchdown catch against Cookeville. League also was the team’s top kick returner with over 400 yards.
Carden had a standout season at safety when he was healthy. The sophomore started for the second straight season as the last line of the Pioneer defense and finished with 43 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. Carden was able to compile his impressive stats despite missing two games to injury and playing the final month of the season with a cast on his right hand due to a broken thumb.
Hunter Mullican was named the most improved offensive player for the Pioneers. After beginning his sophomore season as the team’s back-up quarterback, Mullican was thrust into the starter role after the first game when senior Connor Dixon went down for the season.
Mullican went on to rewrite the single-season record books as the signal caller for Warren County. Mullican set records for attempts, completions and was 22 yards short of breaking the single-season mark for yardage. Mullican finished the season with 1,422 yards and six touchdowns.
Cornerback Tyler Worthington received the most improved award for his defense. Worthington, a junior, didn’t get to make many plays because opponents often avoided his side of the field. Worthington proved to be a solid tackler in the secondary, finishing the season with over 30 tackles.
Coach Johnson selected two linemen for his most consistent players. Guard Jacob Roller garnered the award on offense while end Aaron McKinley was honored on defense. Both juniors played every game for the Pioneers and are counted on to headline their positions next season.
McKinley was also one of three Pioneers who were recognized Saturday for being named to the All-District 6-AAA team.
McKinley was the lone Pioneer defender to be selected to the team. Mullican was selected for his offensive exploits while League’s all-around performance earned an honorable-mention nod.