Warren County made mistakes on the sidelines and on the field that put the Pioneers in a deep hole quickly against Siegel on Friday night in Murfreesboro.
It was another homecoming for the visiting Pioneers to witness, and Warren County was not able to dampen Siegel’s festivities. In a nutshell, Siegel whipped the Pioneers, 42-12.
Warren County received the opening kickoff and Jaythan Pleasant gave the Pioneers a first down on their first play from scrimmage. The Pioneers were not able to advance the ball on the next set of downs and attempted to punt the ball on fourth down. There was a bad snap from center that caused the Pioneers to give the ball to Siegel on the 40-yard line.
On third-and-2, Siegel’s quarterback, sophomore Thomas Santel, ran 32 yards to put the Stars on the scoreboard.
Warren County started its next possession on its own 36-yard line. Two incomplete passes, two penalties, and a negative five-yard run put the Pioneers back on their own 21-yard line. On fourth down, the Pioneers attempted to punt, and it was déjà vu all over again.
A bad snap gave Siegel the ball on the 10-yard line. Two plays later, the leading rusher in the game, Siegel junior running back Cory Sims, ran for a 9-yard TD. The Stars were up 14-0, and the Pioneers essentially had spotted them 14 points.
As painful as that sounds, it never got better for the Pioneers. They were down 28-6 at half, and Siegel’s big running back, Cory Sims had gained 127 of his 226 total yards in the first half. It usually took two to three Pioneers to tackle Sims.
Dayton Jernigan was injured and did not play. Jernigan is the Pioneers long snapper, and they missed him. Jaythan Pleasant was injured in the first half and did not return. Other Pioneers were banged up, but there appears to have been no serious injuries.
THE POSITIVE REVIEW
Although the Pioneers lost by 30 points, junior Braylon Grayson was an offensive playmaker. Grayson received a 56-pass completion for a TD. Grayson also had 101 yards rushing that was highlighted with him breaking many tackles and extending plays with elusive running. Grayson also made key tackles on defense, which is his trademark.
Nate Elrod continues to grow as a quarterback and make things happen with his legs. Elrod did not have a lot of time to pass, yet he did not turn the ball over, showing good decision-making under pressure. Elrod also make key tackles on defense, and is leading by example on the field.
Jaythan Pleasant showed his ability to turn an apparent no-gain run into big yardage with his amazing ability to make defenders miss. The Pioneers missed his big play-making ability after his injury.
The Tubby formation the Pioneers occasionally switch to on offense was effective on a 79-yard drive in which Braylon Grayson ran the ball 6 times for 75 yards. The drive started with 3:01 on the clock toward the end of the second quarter, and Nate Elrod ended the drive with a misdirection quarterback keeper around the end for a touchdown.
The Pioneers appeared to come alive in the Tubby power running formation. The drive featured the power and determination of Braylon Grayson running out of the backfield instead of from the wingback position.
WCHS head coach Matt Turner was somber and challenged his team to let the loss sting and hurt emotionally. Turner took personal credit for the loss, but also challenged his team to go to work on Monday.
Turner said, “We are going to evaluate the film, own our mistakes, and I take full ownership for not helping them out in the first quarter with field position. We will correct that as a coaching staff. We need the team to bring their A-game on Monday.”
Turner continued, “The third quarter was tough. We had to swallow our own medicine. They had a long series, and it is tough when you cannot get your defense off the field. We didn’t get the ball until there was less than six minutes on the clock in that quarter. Right now we are thin with the numbers we have. It is tough to get more players in there, especially when Dayton (Jernigan) is injured. It is a tough pill to swallow when you sit there and watch them just run the clock off.”
“Braylon Grayson always has a standout game. I thought Nate Elrod had a good game. We were moving the ball, but we just made bonehead mistakes on the sidelines. That was the first time we have seen a big back like that. We were just not wrapping up. We will fix that and go to work.”
Siegel head coach Adam Renshaw said, “I thought we took a step. That was the best we have played since I have been here. Our kids played really well tonight. Sims has been coming on every week. Honestly, we were hoping he would have a breakout game tonight.”
The Pioneers play their second region game of the season this week at Coffee County.
Tickets are available at gofan.co. Search for Coffee County football.