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Shooting for the Stars
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I thought he was a person like my grandpa, one of the Old Branch practitioners who were more progressive… I thought I could fix him - photo by Brad Durham

The Pioneer football team travels to Siegel for a non-region game Friday night. The Pioneers went to Siegel last year and came away with a gritty 25-20 victory that gave the Pioneers a 6-0 record, and guaranteed a history-making winning regular season record. 

This year’s game is predicted by both coaches to be another battle, a war. Warren County (1-1) and Siegel (2-3) are looking for a win to keep their young teams moving forward.

Siegel is on a three-game losing streak after winning its first two games. The Stars lost last week to No. 1-ranked Oakland, 49-7. Other than that game, Siegel has either won or lost by a touchdown or less. 

One relevant Siegel game was Lebanon, which Cookeville lost to in Week 3 by a score of 21-14. Siegel lost to Lebanon 28-21. Warren County plays Lebanon on Oct. 29 at home in the final regular season game of the season. Lebanon is undefeated in Warren County’s region, having beaten Cookeville and Coffee County.

During any season it is difficult to compare team’s scores against other teams, but it is especially challenging during a pandemic. Players absent because of COVID-19 protocols and injuries can change rosters dramatically from week-to-week. The Siegel and Cookeville head coaches consider their teams to be equal to Lebanon, and have stated that their losses to Lebanon were because of mistakes, not talent.

Although it may be a false assumption, but if Warren County beats Siegel, the Pioneers should be on a pace to beat Lebanon and other teams in the region. Beating a Rutherford County team has of benefits, including a confidence-builder for the Pioneers’ psyche.


SIEGEL OVERVIEW

Earlier this week in a phone interview, Siegel head coach Adam Renshaw said, “Most games are lost by the loser, not won by the winner. We are in the business of avoiding mistakes. I like my team. We are growing, trying to mature.”

Siegel has 66 varsity players and predominantly has two platoons for offense and defense. A few players play both ways. The key player for Siegel on defense is No. 28, senior linebacker Braden Kaiser, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. 

Siegel has two quarterbacks, No. 10, Thomas Santel, a sophomore, 6-foot, 165 pounds, and No. 14 Jack Brewer, a senior, 5-foot-8, 160 pounds.

Coach Renshaw said the quarterback who starts is the one who has the best week of practice. Renshaw described his team, “We are a blue collar team that works hard. We have not played our best game yet.”

Siegel runs a version of the spread on offense and a 3-4 defense, which is similar to what they used last year. The have replaced about 5-6 starters on both sides of the ball because of graduating seniors. The Pioneers will not see any big surprises from the Stars regarding their formations and schemes.

Coach Renshaw commented on Warren County, “WCHS, their schemes force you to change things, especially of offense. They are executing better on offense than they were last year. They have some big linemen. I expect this game to be a war.”


WARREN COUNTY

OVERVIEW

Head coach Matt Turner has challenged his team to beat a Rutherford County team. Turner told his team, “It is not good enough just being the toughest guy in Warren County. We need to beat Siegel. Murfreesboro schools hate losing to us. We are reviving a dead program. Keep fighting to get better. Push the people around you to be better. Practice to be the best you can be.”

Coach Turner has not lost to Siegel as a head coach. He is 2-0 and wants to keep that record going. Because Siegel is no longer in Warren County’s region, the scheduling dictated that the Pioneers travel to Murfreesboro this season, making it two years in a row the Pioneers will play Siegel on their field.

There will be some changes on the offensive line. Junior Dayton Jernigan is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Mark Bouldin will be taking Jernigan’s place on the line, yet there will be some shuffling during the game. Bouldin could be at center or tackle, and other starters will shift positions. Senior Ethan Bernhardt is anchored in at tackle. Levi Melton may shift around from guard, and Chandler McCormick may mover around from center. 

The Pioneers are pleased with the backfield with Braylon Grayson and Jaython Pleasant at wingbacks and Eli Cantrell at tailback. Nate Elrod will start at quarterback after having a standout game against Cookeville on offense and defense. Wesley Sherrell will start at receiver with Harley Hernandez rotating in at that position.

The offense has developed what they call a Tubby formation out of the Pistol Wing-T position. The Tubby will be a change on the offensive line that overloads one side of the line that makes the defense change their alignment. Warren County is looking to create a mismatch in the Tubby with some power football. It has been an effective short-gain offense so far this season, but coach Turner has stated that other things can happen in the Tubby formation.

There will not be any major changes on defense from last week’s game against Cookeville, with the exception of more players rotating in to fill Dayton Jernigan’s position at defensive end. Collin Panter and Shayd Johnson will see more action this week on the defensive line.


KICKOFF AND TICKETS

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and tickets are available only at gofan.co. Search for Siegel football. Tickets will not be sold at the gate.