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Pioneers taken down by Owls
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Darrell Austin may want to relocate his firework stand to Smith County next year if the Warren County High School football team schedules another road game in Carthage.The Owls celebrate every big play with fireworks and there was no shortage of them for the home team in a 47-7 victory over the Pioneers Friday night.Warren County (1-3) went to Smith County riding high after last week’s 37-13 victory over Cumberland County snapped a 15-game losing streak for the Pioneers, but the Owls made sure a new streak wasn’t in store for the visitors.Jalen Manning rushed for three touchdowns and Nick Givens threw for three more as the Owls ended the Pioneers’ win streak at one and sent Warren County back to the drawing board.The Pioneers had their share of highlights, including a circus catch by Kendall Rutledge on the final play of the first half that resulted in a 43-yard touchdown, but Warren County wasn’t able to make the winning plays for the second straight week when facing Smith County.Lee Carden started the Pioneers out with a 37-yard run on the second play from scrimmage, giving Warren County fans hope another 51-0 loss to the Owls, like last year’s game, wasn’t on the horizon.The drive stalled in Owl territory though and Warren County was forced to rely on the leg of freshman kicker Evan Reynolds.Reynolds, who filled in for starter Johnny Smith for the second straight week, didn’t get any elevation on his 35-yard try that missed short and right.After dodging a bullet on the opening drive by the Pioneers, Smith County went to work offensively and 34 straight points followed.Manning set the tone by galloping 54 yards on the first play for the Owls, setting up a 19-yard touchdown pass by Givens to Anthony Porter two plays later.After another promising Pioneer drive ended near midfield, Manning took matters in his own hands to put Smith County up two scores.Manning capped a four-play, 82-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run as the Owls took a 13-0 lead with 1:28 to play in the first quarter. The PAT was missed.Warren County tried to answer on its next drive, but Reynolds was asked to come back into the game. Reynolds was asked to punt and his kick landed right in the hands of Beau Carr, who weaved his way through the Pioneer defense for a 71-yard touchdown return on the first play of the second quarter.Smith County would add two more touchdowns in the quarter as Manning scored on a 50-yard run and Givens hooked up with Jamison Stevenson for a 40-yard touchdown right before halftime.Trailing 34-0 with 30 seconds to play in the first half, Warren County wasn’t ready to head to the locker rooms yet.After the previous two Pioneer drives ended on a botched snap and interception on the doorstep of the Owl endzone, Warren County had a prayer answered just before halftime.With 1.8 seconds left and the Pioneers still on their own 43, Carden threw a Hail Mary pass down the middle of the field in the vicinity of Rutledge.The ball was first touched by an Owl defender, but the pass went through his hands and hit his chest.