The frustrations of hitting teammates twice a day is starting to set in for the Warren County High School football team. Fortunately, tonight will provide a new target for the Pioneers.
After three days of two-a-day practices, along with traveling to Lincoln County last night for a scrimmage, the Pioneers will suit up against the Riverdale Warriors tonight in Murfreesboro.
The scrimmage was originally scheduled to be held at Warren County High School at the practice field, but the switch was made after Franklin High School also decided to join the scrimmage activity tonight.
Pitting the Pioneers against Riverdale and Franklin should give coach Tommy Johnson and his staff a good idea of what lessons the team has learned during camp.
Coach Johnson believes following tonight’s scrimmages, he’ll know a lot more about his team.
“We’re going to get a good look at our team tonight,” said Johnson. “We’ll know more about ourselves after our scrimmages.”
Coach Johnson and his staff have spent this week trying to improve a very young team which will come into the 2011 season short on experience, but stronger in numbers.
The Pioneers entered camp with 72 players, up nearly 20 from the number of Pioneers who traveled to Rhea County for last season’s final game.
Though the numbers have added depth to Warren County, it has also added inexperience. The Pioneers feature only 12 seniors, while the freshman and sophomore classes make up nearly 75 percent of the team.
Coach Johnson has focused on improving the understanding of the game with his team during camp, with hopes of building a smarter football squad. Through three days of practice, coach Johnson thinks he and his staff are getting through to the team.
“We’re working with the guys to be a smarter team,” said Johnson. “I think our team is getting there. We’re understanding more as a team and guys are asking intelligent questions.”
Intense heat put a damper on the final day of two-a-days for the Pioneers. Wednesday’s practices had to be moved indoors after temperatures soared to over 100 degrees and heat indexes rose to nearly 110 degrees.
Wednesday’s workouts in Charlie Dalton Gym mostly revolved around conditioning, as coaches had the players run sprints.
Yesterday, the Pioneers had a light workout in the morning before traveling to Lincoln County to take on the Falcons. Results from the scrimmage were unavailable at press time.
Check Sunday’s issue of the Standard for more information on the football team’s preparation for the regular season.
Tuesday practice notes
Hunter Mullican stepped in with the No. 1 offense to begin team drills. Mullican, a sophomore, and senior Connor Dixon continue to alternate at quarterback.
Dixon seemed to find a connection with fellow senior Mitchell Ashford. Dixon hit Ashford with a 30-yard touchdown between two defenders on a broken play and also picked up a first down with a 15-yard hook up later.
Ashford was the only receiver to catch the ball consistently as the passing game struggled for the second straight day.
D’Andre League made the most of his time in the backfield. League, a sophomore, showed off his elusiveness on a 20-yard run after Mullican and League had trouble with the handoff.
The defense was the big winner of Tuesday's final team workouts. With coach Johnson harping on creating turnovers, the unit recovered two fumbles and freshman Malik Ladet intercepted Mullican after his pass fluttered when he was hit on release.
Despite his size, Ricardo Duenas made things tough in the middle. Duenas, listed at 5-foot-5, 195 pounds last season, was frequently spotted in the backfield.
Junior Aaron McKinley also excelled on the D-line. McKinley has prototypical size for an end and plays with a good motor.