Coach David Upton always talks about his love for old-school football, longing for the days of dominant defenses and ground-and-pound offenses. His young Pioneers gave him a blast from the past Thursday at home.
The JV Pioneers piled up over 200 yards on the ground and held Coffee County out of the endzone to pick up an 18-0 victory at Nunley Stadium. The win moved the young bunch, made of mostly of freshmen, to 3-1 this season.
It was a smash-and-dash combo doing the heavy lifting in the Pioneer backfield. Freshman phenom Braylon Grayson continued his strong fall with 107 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while fellow freshman Ben Anaya racked up 118 yards on just six carries.
Grayson was able to churn out the tough yards in the middle, carrying 18 times. Any time the Red Raiders committed to stacking the box, Anaya was able to reach the corner and turn on the jets.
Warren County wasted little time getting the scoring started. Set up by a 20-yard return by Trad Grizzle, the Pioneers started near midfield and immediately turned to Grayson.
The young Pioneer back picked up two fourth downs on the drive, plunging forward for four yards on a fourth-and-two and catching a 10-yard swing pass from Harley Hernandez on fourth-and-four.
After a long run by Thomas Ezell, Grayson took a hand-off and burst through a hole on the right side and raced 25 yards for his team’s first score.
Anaya set up the second score of the first half, racing 52 yards a play after a Coffee County punt to put the Pioneers at the Coffee County 4. Grayson bounced through tacklers near the goal line, ultimately weaving his way into the endzone to make it 12-0 at halftime.
Coffee County threatened to slice into the Pioneer lead early in the third quarter, but Warren County was able to turn back the Red Raiders when Tony Sifuentes busted through the line and recovered a botched snap at the Pioneer 19.
Again on a quick change, the Pioneers turned to Anaya. The speedy freshman was able to sprint past defenders on a 44-yard run, getting the ball past midfield. From there, Grayson would add runs of 6, 11 and 7 yards, the last going into the endzone for a touchdown with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Warren County’s defense held the rest of the way, though one defensive stop just wasn’t meant to be.
Early in the fourth quarter, Devans Lewis broke on a long pass, looking destined to pull down an interception. Instead, the ball bounced off his hands and to the Red Raiders. Lewis was able to run down the receiver and strip the ball from behind, but on a long return, Lewis fumbled the ball back to Coffee County.
The bizarre play was followed by the Pioneers best defensive stand.
Ethan Bernhardt blew through the line for a big loss on first down, while Matthew Meeks laid the wood on a pass breakup over the middle on second down.
Ezell followed with a sack on third down, setting up a fourth-and-30 from the Coffee County 45. Fittingly, the Red Raiders were dropped for a loss trying a reverse, with Grayson finishing the game with a big hit.
The Pioneers are set to return to play Monday with a road matchup in Tullahoma. Action is set to start at 6 p.m.