Debuting a new quarterback against the No. 8 team in the state rarely leads to wins. The Warren County High School football team found that out Friday night.
The Shelbyville Golden Eagles pounded the Pioneers 47-13, extending Warren County’s losing streak to 15 games.
Warren County (0-2) knew it faced a daunting challenge when it traveled to Shelbyville. MTSU commit Marquis Morton led a high-powered offense and the Pioneers had to shuffle the lineup after losing their top two quarterbacks in the first week of the season.
After Morton scored on the second play from scrimmage for Shelbyville, the Pioneer hopes of a monumental upset were dashed.
Shelbyville built a 20-point first-quarter lead that carried the Golden Eagles to a 34-point win for the second straight week. Shelbyville beat Coffee County 41-7 in Week 0.
Though the second setback of the season was tough for Warren County, the Pioneers took away some positives from Shelbyville.
New starting quarterback Lee Carden rushed for 107 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown, to lead the Warren County offense to 242 yards on the ground against the Golden Eagles.
Carden earned the start against the Golden Eagles after Hunter Mullican and Christian Wilkinson each suffered injuries last week.
Carden showed his speed on the second play of the game, carrying over the right edge for an 11-yard pickup. A sack though left the Pioneers no choice to punt on their first possession and Shelbyville went to work quickly.
Morton weaved his way through the Warren County defense on 2nd-and-8 and galloped down the right sideline for a 47-yard touchdown with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter.
Two straight fumbles led to Shelbyville’s next two touchdowns.
Tristan Reish fumbled on his first carry, leading to a 22-yard touchdown by Marquis Lyons. Dallas Castleman followed by stripping Cameron Lusk and returning the fumble 50 yards for a score.
Trailing 20-0, Warren County held on to the ball on its fourth drive and it ended with the first points of the season. Reish broke a 44-yard run and scored on fourth down from the Shelbyville 2 to highlight a 14-play, 88-yard touchdown drive. Johnny Smith’s extra point was blocked.
Shelbyville responded quickly. Golden Eagle quarterback Brayden Ward hit Detrell Carpenter for 63 yards on the next play from scrimmage as Shelbyville built its lead back to 21.
Morton added a 25-yard touchdown run to put Shelbyville ahead 34-6 at halftime.
Warren County foiled Shelbyville’s opening drive of the second half when Morton was stripped near the goal line, but the star running back redeemed himself with a 67-yard punt return touchdown as Shelbyville took a 40-6 lead.
The mercy rule went into effect two minutes later when Ward found Tyler Eddings over the middle.
Eddings juggled the ball before bringing it in and racing past the Pioneer secondary for a 57-yard touchdown. The PAT made it 47-6.
Warren County came back with its second touchdown drive though, led by Carden. During a six-play, 59-yard drive, Carden rushed three times and completed a nine-yard pass to senior Kendall Rutledge. Carden’s third rush was a 34-yard burst up the middle where the junior went untouched for a touchdown. Smith’s PAT provided for the final score of 47-13.
Carden’s 100-yard rushing game was the first for Warren County since D’Andre League went for 154 yards against Cumberland County last season. Carden was 3-of-8 passing for 24 yards.
League finished with two catches for 15 yards, while Rutledge’s lone catch went for nine yards.
Reish, who missed last week’s game, debuted with nine carries for 84 yards.
The Pioneer defense was led by safety Maurkel Breedlove, who had five tackles and broke up two passes.