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Pioneers move first home game
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The countdown to the start of the Warren County High School football season keeps dropping a day at a time, but the countdown to the first home game got an added boost Monday.
Warren County High School athletic director Todd Willmore announced the first home game, which features the Pioneers playing District 6-AAA rival Cumberland County, has been moved from Friday, Aug. 31 to Thursday, Aug. 30 to avoid conflict with the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic.
The kickoff classic features the University of Tennessee Volunteers playing the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the Georgia Dome as one of the first games of the college football season.
After speaking with officials from Cumberland County, Willmore made the decision to move the home game to Thursday night in hopes of giving the Pioneer and Vol fanbases a chance to view both games.
“We agreed mutually with Cumberland County about moving the game and it was cleared with the TSSAA,” said Willmore. “After speaking with the regional assignor, who works with officials, it has become a common theme in our region for games to be moved due to the Tennessee game.”
“It seems like we got in a little ahead of the curve as more and more requests could come in for games to be moved to Thursday night,” continued Willmore.
Willmore spoke Tuesday with the TSSAA, which accepted since both teams were in agreement. Several games scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30 in East Tennessee have already moved to Thursday or Saturday night to avoid conflict.
Moving the first home game for Warren County may draw doubters, but a dwindling turnout for a Friday home game was too much of a risk to take.
“After speaking with several people who thought it could cost us at the gate if we didn’t move, we agreed to make the change,” said Willmore. “We’d hate to have a dismal turnout for our first home game because we are going head-to-head with one of the most popular teams in the state.”
The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic was originally scheduled to be played Saturday, Sept. 1 as part of a day-night doubleheader, but event organizers decided it would be a logistical nightmare to have two games in the same venue with over 60,000 tickets sold to each game.
With the move, the Pioneers will lose a day of preparation for their first District 6-AAA game. Coach Tommy Johnson doesn’t think the loss of Thursday’s practice will have an effect on the outcome of the game.
“The only difference it makes for us is Monday becomes more of a practice day than it would normally be,” said Johnson. “Otherwise, if moving the game means our turnout will be better, than I’m all for it.”
Warren County will begin the regular season in 23 days when the Pioneers travel to DeKalb County to take on the Tigers.
Warren County will hit the road the second week of the season as well. The Pioneers are scheduled to play Shelbyville Friday, Aug. 24 before playing host to their first home game the next week.