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Pioneers not giving up on football season
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Coach Tommy Johnson and his Warren County High School football team have adopted a new motto for the final three weeks of the season. Coach Johnson has encouraged his team to “finish strong,” and hopes three solid performances to end the season can be a momentum builder for next season.
“Finishing strong is our team motto for the last three games,” said Johnson. “We want our guys to go out and start laying the foundation for what’s to come next season.”
Warren County (0-7) begins its final three games with the final home game of the season tonight.
The Pioneers will play host to District 6-AAA rival White County at 7 p.m. The game will double as senior night as Warren County  honors 11 seniors.
The Warriors (2-6) come into tonight’s game with plenty of momentum after defeating Loudon last week 30-28 on a last-second field goal.
White County has had an up-and-down season as injuries have forced the Warriors to shuffle players around on offense most of the season.
Warren County will have to handle a Warrior offense led by Devon Davidson, a converted running back who will be starting his second game at quarterback this week. Last season, Davidson had 53 yards rushing and a touchdown against the Pioneers.
Other players to watch on the Warrior offense include running back Blake Lynn and wide receiver Cole Bohannon.
Warren County will be looking to extend its winning streak against White County to three games. The Pioneers won a 49-48 thriller last season in Sparta that went to two overtimes. In 2009, the Pioneers defeated White County 50-27 at Nunley Stadium.
If the Pioneers are to keep up their pace of 49.5 points per game against the Warriors the past two seasons, coach Johnson will have to see some players step up offensively. As it has been all season, the Pioneers are looking for playmakers tonight against the Warriors.
“We’ve been saying it since day one, but we have to have some guys step up and be playmakers offensively,” said Johnson. “We’re going to throw some new wrinkles out this week and hopefully it will give our guys a chance to make plays.”
Recently, the offense has relied heavily on sophomore quarterback Hunter Mullican, especially in District 6-AAA games. After totaling just 288 yards through the air through the first four games, Mullican has averaged 218.7 yards in the past three games.
Mullican’s best showings have been against Cookeville and Coffee County, where the sophomore threw two touchdowns and limited his interceptions to just one.
The Pioneer receiving core should be near full strength for tonight’s game. Junior Austin Fisk won’t play for the rest of the season after suffering a second concussion against Moore County two weeks ago, but sophomore Lee Carden used the bye week to recover from two separate injuries.
With Carden returning to join Mitchell Ashford, Kendall Rutledge and D’Andre League, the Pioneers will try to spread out the Warriors and make plays in the passing game.
Cameron Lusk continues to be the feature back in the Pioneer offense, while freshman Bryson Lewis has seen his reps in practice increase during the bye week. Both should see time in the backfield tonight.
Defensively, the Pioneers look to be at full strength for the first time. Carden’s return at safety, along with Calvin Hammond and MaCrae Thomsen being fully recovered from injuries that slowed the senior linebacker duo earlier this year, means the Pioneers will have their three top defensive players on the field together for the first time this season.
Tonight’s game kicks off at 7 p.m. Senior night festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m.