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Pioneers ready for Warriors
Clay Thompson 2
Jeffery Simmons photo The Pioneers are hopeful Clay Thompson can make more plays through the air this Friday against White County.

Another rivalry game awaits the Pioneers Friday.

Warren County will travel to face the White County Warriors for the 40th meeting between the two programs. The Pioneers are hoping this one turns out like the last one.

Warren County (0-1) won last year’s meeting at Nunley Stadium 55-14, improving its series lead to 22-17 in games that date back to 1969. Isaiah Grayson dominated last year’s game, but the standout quarterback won’t be in a Pioneer uniform this time around.

Finding ways to score is something that has been on the forefront of Pioneer coach Tom Moore’s mind.

“We can’t get behind on the sticks. We haven’t demonstrated yet that we have a lot of 15-yard plays in the playbook,” said Moore, who will assume play-calling duties this week. “We did break some runs last week.

“I think our kicking is getting better. When we get close, it’s something we can do so we’re not always having to score a touchdown.”

Tony Curtis went 2-for-2 on PATs last week after showing an ability to kick late in fall camp.

The Pioneers piled up yards last week against DeKalb County, almost all of them coming on the ground. Senior Eric Haywood rushed for 156 yards – over half coming on an 85-yard touchdown – and sophomore CJ Taylor was right behind at 150 yards.

Warren County was stopped three times inside the Tiger 30 though, including stalling out at the DeKalb County 21 with less than four minutes to play in the 19-14 loss. A lack of a passing game – two completions for six yards – may have contributed to the struggles when the space shrinks and defenses can pack the box.

Sophomore Clay Thompson earned his first start last week and is expected to get the nod again this Friday, though fellow sophomore Bryson Elrod also got plenty of snaps this week in practice.

“We’re looking to simplify. It’s not how much we know, but how much our kids know,” said Moore. “I’ve coached sophomore quarterbacks before. You have to put them in positions to be successful. We’ve worked on some things we think we can do in the passing game.”

Making plays on the outside may be necessary against a team which likes to stack the box defensively.

“White County puts six people in there from tackle-to-tackle. Their strength is in the middle,” said Moore.

The Warriors are also looking for their first win. White County dropped its opener 35-0 to Livingston Academy, finishing with just 79 yards of offense.