1. How many times have you heard someone say, “That hasn’t happened here in 45 years?” Has anyone done something in his/ her job that hasn’t been accomplished in 45 years? Once in a generation is what, 20-30 years? The Pioneer basketball team just accomplished something that has not been done in two generations.
2. Basketball and football are team sports, yet one player, C.J. Taylor, was the leading scorer and captain of the Pioneer basketball team that broke a 45-year basketball drought. C.J. was also quarterback of the Pioneer football team that recently broke a 29-year losing season jinx.
3. Choose whatever metric you wish to choose. C.J. Taylor’s senior high school athletic career is one for the ages in Warren County. He passes the eyeball test for greatness. C.J.’s competitive spirit, combined with his exceptional athletic talent, helped take Pioneer football and basketball to places those teams have not been in decades. C.J. Taylor deserves a special award. If Warren County does not have one to give him, an award needs to be created.
4. C.J. Taylor has made my job exciting and rewarding. Call me a groupie, a homer, or whatever you want to call me, but I am 64 years old and I have not seen a high school player with my own eyes who has accomplished what C.J. has for his teams. I have watched over 200 high school football games in the past 21 years across the state, including several state championship games. C.J. is the best high school player I have seen in Tennessee.
5. Exhibit A: C.J.’s 300+ rushing yards at Blackman. Blackman fans on the chains called C.J. “a man-possessed.” It was a phenomenal performance that defies description. Exhibit B: C.J.’s 21-point fourth quarter against East Hamilton and his game-tying, off-balanced 3-point shot that sent it to overtime.
6. Cleveland’s boys beat Blackman on Monday night, 46-43. Cleveland and Siegel could meet in the final. Bradley Central Bearettes beat Stone Memorial 60-36 last week. Bradley Central also beat Oakland’s girls 36-31 to advance to the state tournament.
7. Pioneer football coach Matt Turner drove the basketball bus to Siegel on Monday night. After the game, Turner said, “You have to learn how to get here and learn how to compete to get here next year.”
8. Siegel Star head coach, Dyron Birdwell shared some thoughts after the game Monday night, “Warren County is a great team, and they definitely made some plays to keep it close. Any time you are playing in the substate, you are going to be playing a really good team. Credit Coach Sullens and his team; those guys play hard for him. They are not just a one-man team, and they proved that tonight.”