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Pioneers put up 32 in loss
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There was no premium on points at Nunley Stadium Friday night when White County visited the Warren County Pioneers.
The two teams combined to score 81 points and racked up over 800 yards of offense, but Warren County came out on the wrong end of the scoreboard. The Pioneers lost 49-32 to the Warriors and fell to 0-8 this season.
Warren County owned the lead twice against the Warriors, the latest coming when the Pioneers scored on their first possession of the second half, but a seven-minute stretch in the third quarter sealed the Pioneers’ fate.
Warren County trailed 14-10 coming out of halftime, but the Warrior lead wouldn’t last long.
The Pioneers got a big boost early in the half when Cameron Lusk picked up a fourth-and-one situation by two inches. It would be a pivotal conversion because Warren County would score on the next play.
D’Andre League took a handoff and nearly was toppled in the back field, but the sophomore tailback avoided two tacklers at the line of scrimmage, then broke free in the White County secondary.
League outran the Warrior defense and scored from 57 yards out to give the Pioneers a 17-14 lead with 9:41 left in the third quarter.
Five plays later, Warren County lost the lead. Seven minutes later, the Pioneers were down 18 points.
On the ensuing kickoff, White County got a 60-yard return by Michael Sain to set the Warriors up inside the Warren County 20. Blake Lynn capped a five-play drive with a four-yard TD run.
The Pioneers went three-and-out on their next possession and the Warriors would need three plays before quarterback Devon Davidson scored from 27 yards out to make it 28-17.
Warren County had the ball just one play after Davidson’s touchdown. Lusk fumbled fighting for extra yards and White County recovered at the Pioneer 29.
A nine-yard run from Lynn was followed by two carries from Davidson, the last of which was a one-yard touchdown run to put White County ahead 35-17 with 2:41 left in the third quarter.
White County would tack on another touchdown on a 28-yard run from Lynn before the Pioneers got back on the board in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Hunter Mullican capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive with a perfect throw to senior Nick Sangi for a nine-yard touchdown. Sangi, playing his first game at tight end, finished with three catches for 25 yards, including the touchdown grab between two Warrior defenders.
The Pioneers tried an onside kick following Sangi’s touchdown, but the Warriors recovered. With great field position following the kick, White County would get another touchdown from Lynn, this time from 20 yards away. The fourth touchdown from the sophomore tailback gave White County a 49-24 lead with 5:05 to play.
Warren County would keep the ball for nearly the rest of the game. Maurkel Breedlove set up the Pioneers in Warrior territory with a 30-yard kickoff return, then Mullican went back to work.
Mullican led an eight-play drive, all passes, that culminated when the Pioneer signal caller hit fellow sophomore Lee Carden with a 13-yard touchdown with 3:14 to play. Mullican and Carden would hook up again on the two-point conversion to make it 49-32.
A perfectly-executed onside kick by Johnny Smith gave the Pioneers the ball back. The Pioneers marched all the way down to the White County 4, but a third-down sack put Warren County in a tough spot.
Facing fourth-and-goal from the Warrior 17 and time ticking down, Mullican was forced to make a heave into the endzone. Mullican couldn’t make the hook up with Mitchell Ashford and White County took over and took a knee to end the game.
The first half featured both teams moving the ball with ease. White County struck first when Davidson scored from 42 yards out with 47.5 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Pioneers answered back with a 42-yard touchdown run from Lusk to make it 7-7.
An interception by senior MaCrae Thomsen set up the Pioneers to take their first lead. Warren County went nine plays, but stalled inside the White County 20. Smith came in and hit a 35-yard field goal to make it 10-7 with 3:21 to play.
White County was able to score just before the half to take a lead into the locker room. Lynn scored on a nine-yard run to cap off a seven-play drive and put the Warriors ahead 14-10 at halftime.
Mullican finished 290 yards passing and two touchdowns. League led the Pioneers with 89 yards rushing on nine carries and added 66 yards and six catches. Carden had 87 yards receiving on seven catches and a touchdown.
Senior Calvin Hammond and sophomore Gilley Ortiz led the Pioneers with eight tackles apiece. Thomsen, the Pioneers lone two-way starter, finished with five tackles and an interception.
The Pioneers finish out the season with two road games. The first comes Friday when the Pioneers travel to Tullahoma to take on the Wildcats. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.