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Pioneers rack up region awards
Xander Lee 2.jpg
xander lee

Taking down two Murfreesboro schools for the first time in 22 years helped Warren County earn a multitude of awards when the Region 3-6A team was announced.

The Pioneers, who finished 4-6 overall and 3-4 in region play, had eight players honored by the region coaches. 

Lacedrick ‘Red’ Cox, Noah Martin, Xander Lee, Dillon Haley and Kason Holder were named to the all-region team, while juniors Kaden Jordan and Stephen Curtis were honorable mention. 

Rounding out the honors was CJ Taylor being named the Region 3-6A Athlete of the Year (More on 1B).

“I’ve been a part of the program for a while – this feels like unchartered territory,” said Matt Turner, who injected life in the program in his first year leading the Pioneers. “A few of our all-region guys are moving on, but more are coming back than leaving. It’s nice going into the offseason knowing you have players coming back – true all-region guys – who have proved themselves in one of the best regions in the state.”

Cox made an instant impact after joining the program over the summer as a senior. Cox was a two-way stalwart, shutting down opponents as a lock-down corner and showing his playmaking skills as a wing in the Pioneers’ Pistol T look.

In his first start, Cox had two interceptions and a fumble return for a touchdown against DeKalb County. For the year, Cox ended with three interceptions (tied for the team lead) and 24 tackles. Offensively, Cox averaged 12.1 yards per touch while finishing with 449 total yards and four touchdowns.

Martin and Haley, both seniors, helped the Pioneers show real improvement in the trenches this fall. Both started on each side the ball, with Martin starting at middle linebacker and Haley working as a tackle on defense. Martin led the Pioneers in tackles with 76, while Haley had 29 stops. 

Offensively, Martin and Haley helped pave the way for Warren County to rush for 2,050 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.

Lee was one of the main beneficiaries of the seniors moving opponents on the inside.

The bruising junior running back was second on the team this season with 473 yards, including a career-best 132 yards in the team’s region win over Coffee County. Lee also found the end zone four times.

As well as serving as a battering ram for the Pioneer rushing attack, Lee also handled the team’s punting duties this season.

Functioning in an offense that focuses so much on the ground game made it hard for receivers to stand out, but Holder did anyway. The junior showed sticky hands on the outside, coming up with huge catches in region wins against Siegel and Rockvale. Holder had a season-high 50 yards against Rockvale, helping him lead the Pioneers in receiving with 142 yards in this season. 

Holder was also a starter on defense, finishing with 17 tackles.

Jordan, a junior, started and thrived in the trenches, giving Turner a building block for the Pioneer lines next year. Curtis was effective on PATs this year, missing just one of his tries this season.

As exciting as the Pioneers were this season, it could be even better next fall. Lee, Holder, Jordan, Curtis and Taylor will all be back for the Pioneers in 2020.