The first five weeks of the high school football season saw Warren County stay at home four times, but now that the schedule has flipped to the second half, the Pioneers will start hitting the road.
The first of four road games down the stretch is tonight when Warren County travels to Lynchburg to take on the 3-2 Moore County Raiders.
Moore County, a District 9-A team, will be looking to extend a two-game winning streak when it plays host to the Pioneers. The Raiders played their best football last Friday, defeating Middle Tennessee Christian School 62-21 in Murfreesboro.
The 41-point win followed an 18-6 road win at East Robertson High School.
Moore County began its season with a 49-14 loss at Wayne County before defeating Cornersville 21-7 in the team’s only home game to date. In their third game, the Raiders lost to Eagleville 10-7.
Coach Tommy Johnson is well aware of the challenge the small school presents, especially offensively. The Raiders line up in a spread offense, relying on the running of quarterback J.P. Evans and tailback Nathan Matlock.
While the Raiders piled up points last week, the Pioneers are trying to combine two impressive offensive weeks in their last three.
Warren County had over 300 yards on the ground against Cumberland County three week ago, then went to the air for 311 yards against Cookeville last week. In both games, the Pioneers scored 16 points.
Coach Johnson is hoping the Pioneers can get away from being one dimensional and combine their running and passing efforts to become an explosive offense.
“We’d like to be able to run for 175 yards and pass for 250,” said Johnson. “When you run the ball effectively, it opens up the pass and vice versa. We’ve had a good week of practice offensively and I think we’re getting there.”
Last week in his fourth start, sophomore Hunter Mullican threw for 311 yards in one of the impressive passing performances by a Pioneer in over a decade.
Mullican’s favorite target was junior Kendall Rutledge, who hauled in 10 catches for 108 yards. Juniors Mitchell Ashford and Austin Fisk, along with sophomores Lee Carden and D’Andre League, also made plays in the passing game.
League was the catalyst on offense when the Pioneers exploded for 303 yards rushing against the Jets. If the Pioneers are to get the ground game going tonight, the speed of League and the strong running of Cameron Lusk will have to be on display.
On the injury front, the Pioneers seem to be getting healthy for the first time all season. Senior linebacker Calvin Hammond suited up for practice this week after missing last week’s game with an injury.
Carden, who starts at receiver and safety, suffered a thumb injury in last week’s game but looks like he will suit up tonight wearing a soft cast to protect his thumb.
Kickoff for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.