When Warren County quarterback CJ Taylor was intercepted late in a loss to Cookeville two weeks ago, it didn’t just add to 32 years of futility on the road against the Cavaliers. It may have been the deciding blow to the Pioneers’ playoff chances as well.
Nobody expected Warren County to make a postseason push in Matt Turner’s first season, but early home wins over Rockvale and Siegel paved a path. The Pioneers – currently 2-2 in region games - could still make it there, but the road got a lot bumpier after the 25-19 loss to the Cavaliers.
Turner’s focus hasn’t changed after the team took a short break during its bye week. For Turner, it’s all about building toward the next game, which this week will be at home against Region 3-6A opponent Coffee County.
“We aren’t going to stray from what we’ve been doing. We can’t start thinking about what is going on with other teams; We have to take care of our business,” said Turner, who gave his team three days off last week to rest after seven weeks of games. “We got back to work Monday and our entire focus is on Coffee County. We want to protect our home field one more time.”
Nunley Stadium has been a safe haven for the Pioneers this year. Warren County is 3-1 in home games, beating Siegel and Rockvale in one-point games, along with a 35-21 victory over DeKalb County to start the season. The lone loss was against perennial powerhouse Blackman, which led just 14-7 at halftime at Nunley Stadium.
“We’ve been really good at home. We’re creating memories and letting people know we aren’t going to be pushed around on our own field,” said Turner.
One more victory at home this season – no guarantee against a Coffee County team which has also started region play 2-2 – would mark the first time the Pioneers won four games at Nunley Stadium since 2005.
A win would also snap a three-game losing streak to the Red Raiders, who won last year’s matchup 35-13. Before this season, the 13-7 victory over Coffee County in 2016 served as Warren County’s lone win in region play since the new TSSAA regions were formed before the 2015 season.