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Successful scrimmage for WCHS
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Scrimmages can be fool’s gold for a football team, so the Warren County Pioneers went to Stratford High School Friday looking not to win on the scoreboard, but merely give a glimpse of success that may carry over to the fall.
Coach Tommy Johnson saw plenty of things to think the Pioneers are making big strides during spring practice despite the final score favoring the Stratford Spartans 21-7 at the end of the scrimmage.
Some of the positives consisted of how the Pioneers played and competed against the Spartans, who are coached by former Warren County offensive coordinator Aaron Pitts.
Coach Johnson also thought the score was much closer than the lead official, Pitts, indicated at the end. With a few calls going against Warren County that disallowed touchdowns, coach Johnson questioned what the final score really was at the end while praising the effort of his team.
“I think coach Pitts would say 21-7, but I’d like to think it was 21-21,” said Johnson. “We had a few scores where he called our guys down just short of the line and he got a hard time for that.
“I really thought we competed well. I was very pleased with the overall effort of our guys.”
The only score granted to the Pioneers was a 20-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Mullican to tight end Aaron McKinley.
McKinley broke open on an out route and worked his way up field for a touchdown.
Overall, coach Johnson was thrilled with the passing attack the Pioneers showed against Stratford.
“I think coach Pedro Holiday has done a great job with our routes,” said Johnson. “We had guys running wide open all day. I really liked our short passing and I think we’re going to be able to stretch defenses.”
While the passing game was clicking, the Pioneer rushing attack did make a handful of plays. Mullican was denied a score when he scrambled on fourth-and-goal for an apparent touchdown. Mullican was ruled down before crossing the goal line.
D’Andre League also had what would’ve been a 50-yard touchdown run late in the scrimmage, but the score wasn’t granted.
Coach Johnson feels the team needs to continue to make strides in the running game and it will all start in the trenches.
“We got to get better upfront,” said Johnson. “We’re still replacing some vital guys from last year, Justin Ware, MaCrae Thomsen, Nick Sangi. We’re getting better and have some solid guys, but building depth will be key.”
Defensively, some persistent problems seem to keeping popping up for the Pioneers. Stratford scored on two long touchdown passes against Warren County, both on plays where the Pioneers missed tackles.
Missed tackles were a problem last season and coach Johnson thinks watching film and correcting those problems will be vital in the final week of spring practice.
“We missed some tackles, but overall we got what we needed from the scrimmage,” said Johnson. “We got a chance to compete against another team and got some good film. We’ll grade it and go out and correct those mistakes in practice.”
Warren County has three practices this week as spring practice wraps up Friday. The Pioneers will then take two months off before fall practice begins in late July.