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Pioneers set to scrimmage state champs
Nate Elrod.jpg
WCHS senior Nate Elrod will lead the Pioneers at QB.
Matt Turner.jpg
Matt Turner is entering his fourth season as head coach of the WCHS Pioneer football team.

The Friday night lights start this week for the Warren County High School football team.

The Pioneers have a home scrimmage against South Pittsburg on Friday night at Nunley Stadium with kickoff set for 6 p.m.

It will give WCHS a chance to face a state power from a lower classification.

“They won the state championship last year,” said WCHS coach Matt Turner. “They lost a lot of good players from that team who are now playing in college, but they still have some talented guys coming back and they have tradition. They have some really good athletes on their D-line and some dangerous skill guys too. I know they have a running back who is very good so this will be a test of where we are at this point.”

There won’t be an admission charge but there will be buckets available to make donations to the Pioneer football program.

The Pioneers have a talented senior class that’s led by QB Nate Elrod. There will likely be some times where Elrod plays WR and junior Alex van Vuuren is quarterback.

“I’m sure we’ll have some different packages to use in different situations, but Nate is our quarterback,” said coach Turner.

Friday’s scrimmage will have referees and Turner hopes to simulate game conditions as much as possible. He says he doesn’t expect live returns in the kicking game, but he says action from scrimmage will be full speed and it will be a down-and-distance format.

Among early standouts during preseason, Turner says P.J. Truax has caught the attention of coaches with his play at linebacker and running back. 

“He’s aggressive and flies around the ball,” said Turner. “I’m anxious to see how he does in this scrimmage.”

Turner also said they will be using Dayton Jernigan, regarded as the team’s best offensive lineman, at tight end this year.

“We are going to be utilizing our tight end more than usual,” said Turner. “With Dayton at tight end, we’ll be able to put him on either side of the line and also use him with some tight end drags.”

After this Friday night, the Pioneers will have a home scrimmage on Tuesday, Aug. 9, against Tullahoma. Start time will be 6 p.m. at Nunley Stadium.

On Friday, Aug. 12, the Pioneers will have their final preseason tune-up at the Sequatchie County Jamboree. Warren County is scheduled to face Rhea County at 7 p.m. and Grundy County at 7:30 p.m.

Jamboree tickets are $8 and can be purchased during the two home scrimmages at Nunley Stadium.