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Records reset as region games loom
Photo courtesy of Painted Barn Media Braylon Grayson leads the Pioneers in rushing and tackles this season.

Four losses by 12 points have been a big blow for the Pioneers this season, but there is still a silver lining for Warren County. Despite starting 1-5, the Pioneers still have plenty to play for, beginning with Friday’s homecoming matchup.

Warren County has played just one of its four region games this year, losing 21-14 to Cookeville two weeks ago in its first home game. If the Pioneers want to run their streak of playoff bids to three straight, they’ll need to win at least one of their three games against Coffee County, Shelbyville or Lebanon. 

Coach Matt Turner doesn’t want squeak into the playoffs again though. After Friday’s game, he was setting the bar a lot higher.

“We still have plenty of opportunities to do big things,” Turner told his team after a 21-18 loss to Siegel, another gut punch in a long line of haymakers the group has taken this year. “We can make the playoffs. We can have a playoff game on this field. It’s all in front of us, but we have to go to work and make every minute count the rest of the way.”

If the Pioneers want to make a statement, they have their biggest chance Friday against Coffee County. The Red Raiders currently lead the Region 3-6A standings with a 2-0 record. Coffee County beat Shelbyville 39-13 in Week 3, then topped Lebanon – last year’s champion and a preseason top 10 team in the state – 27-23 in Manchester two weeks ago.

Coach Turner is hopeful the passion he started to see from his Pioneers last Friday will carry over against the Red Raiders this Friday.

“I saw some real heart from our guys. I also saw the disappointment in their faces after the loss. That’s a big step – We have to get to the point where we hate losing and won’t accept it,” said Turner. “Right now, the only thing beating us is us. If we can stop letting Warren County beat Warren County, we can do some great things.”

Cookeville and Lebanon are currently 1-1 in region games, with the Blue Devils already owning the tiebreaker courtesy of their 41-14 win over the Cavaliers earlier this year. Shelbyville, like Warren County, is 0-1 in region games and is still winless on the year at 0-5. The Golden Eagles will play Lebanon this Friday at home.

Friday’s matchup will the last time the Pioneers will play a region game at home this year. They are scheduled to face Shelbyville next week on the road and will conclude the regular season Friday, Oct. 28 at Lebanon. Coach Turner is hopeful the homecoming crowd, and the importance of the game, will fuel the Pioneers at Nunley Stadium.

“It’s homecoming week and I know our school and community will focus on that. It should give us a big, loud crowd Friday and our kids usually feed off that energy. We also have to bring that energy too,” said Turner. “This is a big game and our kids shouldn’t need any additional motivation. These are the matchups we were looking forward to when we were suiting up at midnight to get the fall started and doing two-a-days to get ready for the year.”

Kickoff Friday is set for 7 p.m. Check Friday’s Standard for a detailed preview of the Red Raiders and Pioneers as they get set for another border battle.