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Pioneers fall to district foe
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Warren County may have won a couple of battles during rivalry week against Coffee County, but the Red Raiders won the war.In the third matchup between high school programs from Warren and Coffee County last week, the Red Raiders scored their only win by defeating the Pioneers 49-6 during District 6-AAA Friday night.The Warren County High School football team hoped to replicate the success of the soccer and volleyball programs against Coffee County, but the Pioneers weren’t able to handle Chris Murray, Deangelo Rozier and the rest of the Red Raiders.Murray caught a touchdown and returned a kick for a score for Coffee County while Rozier finished with 189 yards and three scores on the ground for the Red Raiders in a blowout victory.Warren County found itself fighting against the TSSAA mercy rule for the third time in seven games this season in the second half as coach Tommy Johnson’s team couldn’t return from a 35-0 halftime deficit.The Pioneers only touchdown came in the fourth quarter when sophomore quarterback Hunter Mullican hit Kendall Rutledge with a 12-yard pass.The scoring strike cut Coffee County’s lead to 42-6 in the fourth quarter, but a late touchdown by the Red Raiders secured a 43-point win for the home team.Tempers were at a boiling point by the time the Pioneers kicked off to Coffee County on Friday in Manchester.Neither team had forgotten last year’s game which featured over 10 personal fouls and a first-half brawl that saw one of the Red Raiders drop-kick a Pioneer during a scuffle.This year, Coffee County decided to take out its frustrations against the Pioneers between the whistles.The Red Raiders scored on all five of their first-half possessions to take a 35-0 lead into halftime.Rozier led the way for Coffee County as the sophomore running back scored on runs of 20 and 45 yards in the first half. Brent Wix added a 10-yard touchdown on a reverse for the Red Raiders, while Murray scored on a 30-yard pass from Peyton Meeker and Jeffrey Simmons wrapped up the first-half scoring with a four-yard touchdown run with 3:28 left in the first half.Warren County threatened to score late in the second quarter, but a goal-line stand by the Red Raiders stopped the drive.Warren County had the ball first-and-goal at the Coffee County 9 with a minute to play in the first half and tried to pound the ball into the endzone.Sophomore Cameron Lusk carried the ball two straight times, with the second run resulting in Coffee County being called for a personal foul.The penalty left the ball at the Red Raider 1, but running tries by D’Andre League and Lusk came up short and Coffee County took a 35-0 lead into halftime.With the TSSAA mercy rule going in the second half, a stipulation calling for a running clock in the second half of any football game where the lead is 35 or more in the second half, the Pioneers ran out of time to come up with their first District 6-AAA win.The lone Warren County touchdown came after the Red Raiders went up 42-0 and the Pioneers ditched their running attack.Mullican led a 94-yard touchdown drive which spanned the last of the third quarter and the first part of the fourth.Mullican capped off the drive by hitting a leaping Rutledge in the endzone, but the duo couldn’t connect again to narrow the lead. On the two-point try, Mullican again looked for Rutledge but the junior receiver dropped the ball.Warren County tried an onside kick on the ensuing possession but Murray recovered the try by Johnny Smith and raced 52 yards for a touchdown.It proved to be the last points of the game as neither team scored in the final 11 minutes.Mullican finished 11-of-24 for 159 yards and one touchdown to go along with one interception.

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