For one half, the Pioneers had Blackman on upset alert. The Blaze extinguished the thoughts in the second half.
Warren County fought valiantly against one of the state’s best Friday at home, but fell 41-7 to visiting Blackman. It was the first loss at home for the Pioneers, who are now 2-3 this season and 1-1 in region games.
“We’re competing. The kids are believing they can play with the Murfreesboro schools,” said coach Matt Turner.
The Pioneers trailed 14-7 going into halftime, a deficit that was aided by a Warren County miscue. The Blaze started the scoring by picking up a fumble following a high snap and ran it back 31 yards for a touchdown.
Without it, Warren County could’ve gone to the locker rooms in a dead heat with a team which advanced to the second round in last year’s 6A playoffs.
“If we just fall on the ball and punt it, who knows. We could’ve had it 7-7 at halftime, or maybe it even goes our way,” said Turner.
Luke Hayes, who was Blackman’s workhorse with 132 yards rushing and two touchdowns, made it 14-0 in the second quarter on a 24-yard scoring sprint.
The Pioneers answered back quickly, mounting a nine-play drive to slice the lead in half. Lacedrick ‘Red’ Cox was the catalyst, sprinting 37 yards to get the Pioneers in Blackman territory for the first time.
Malachi Rippy added a pair of first downs, making a 12-yard grab and running for eight yards in the red zone.
CJ Taylor capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge, going over the top to make it 14-7 with 2:39 left in the first half.
Cristian Espinoza kept the Pioneers within one score late, recovering a Blackman fumble with 23.9 seconds left in the first half.
The Blaze turned it on in the second half, scoring four straight drives to put the game away. Drew Beam threw three second-half touchdowns, hitting Todd Lark for 40 yards before connecting with Emilio Martin on scoring strikes of 54 and 2 yards.
The Pioneer offense was stalled in the second half, moving the chains just five times – twice by virtue of roughing the passer penalties on Blackman. Ryland Holder had the highlight of the second half, erupting for a 31-yard run in the final minutes.
Defensively, Aiden Cummings had a sack and forced fumble for the Pioneers in the first half.
Warren County will be back at home this Friday for homecoming. The Pioneers will play Siegel, which fell at Coffee County 42-36 in its last game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.