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Pioneers feeling the burn
Kaden Jordan.jpg
Rising junior Kaden Jordan lets out a roar as he completes a 405-pound squat during Friday's Lift-A-Thon. The Pioneers put on a weight-lifting display for fans, with Jordan serving as one of the standouts at the event.

Kaden Jordan went into his dip, balancing a bar carrying 405 pounds across his back. Teammates gathered, watching in awe as Jordan went for his max squat. The only thing that could cut through the sound of celebrating teammates was Jordan’s roar as he propelled the weight back up to the rack.

Was it the jubilation, the support of teammates or a burning fire inside that made Jordan set a new squat high? Not according to the junior lineman.

“I was thinking about DeKalb County,” said Jordan, a returning starter from last year’s 2-8 squad. “I was thinking of this community and what it would feel like to put out a good product for them. It’s all about Pioneer pride.”

Friday’s Lift-A-Thon was a two-hour infomercial on Pioneer pride, something Matt Turner has stressed since taking over the job. He saw his players dig deep all night, hoping to let people know this year’s Pioneers aren’t going to go down without a fight.

If anything, they’re prepping to be a team that comes out of the corner swinging.

“These guys are working hard,” said Turner. “They’re putting in the work. They came out Monday and worked hard in their first week back. It’s good to see them taking ownership.”

Friday’s event was a fundraiser for the team, with donations tied to the amount lifted at the event. Warren County made sure tons of weights were on hand to be tossed around.

The most eye-popping number was put up by new player Cristian Espinoza. The big man who could be a fixture on the line squatted 500 pounds, a number rarely seen at Warren County. Jordan was second on the team at 405 pounds, while Dillon Haley and Jay Rozier were able to lift 400 pounds. Aiden Cumming just missed the 400-pound mark, coming in at 385 pounds.

Haley, Jordan and Caleb McCormick tied for top honors in the power clean, each lifting 240 pounds. Austin McBride, with 230 pounds, and Cummings and Rozier, 225 pounds each, were right behind.

In the bench press, Noah Martin topped the team at 340 pounds. McBride and Haley were right behind at 335 pounds, while Espinoza came in at 300 pounds. Xander Lee and McCormick finished with 295-pound lifts.

Lee’s jump to 295 pounds came after his previous max was 210 pounds. The improvement came from a new nightly habit.

“I do pushups every night. I’ve been doing it for weeks,” said Lee, who is one the team’s leading returning rushers.

The countdown to the season opener has reached 40 days. Jordan, and the Pioneers, are all aware who will be the first opponent.