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WCHS shows determination against state's best
Kason Holder wraps up an Oakland runner while Dante Elam, No. 2, comes in to support. The Pioneers held their own against the state's No. 1 team, battling to a 14-14 tie in the second quarter before falling by 35.

There was no secret formation

needed. Trick plays

were left in the kitchen sink.

Matt Turner preached all

week his Pioneers had a

chance to show how they

matched up physically

against No. 1 Oakland. For

a half, the Pioneers threw

haymakers and knocked

the Patriots on their heels.

The Pioneers scored first

in Friday’s season finale

and were tied 14-14 with

the state’s best in the second

quarter, but Oakland

showed its strength by scoring

35 unanswered points

to pull away for a 49-14


“Prior to this season, they

didn’t know who Matt

Turner was and I don’t

think they were paying our

program much attention,”

said Turner when asked

about his team’s Herculean

effort in the first half. “I

have a feeling they’ll be

studying us more and taking

us a little more serious.

I told the kids they could

play with anybody.

“We still have work to

do, but we proved we can

stay on the field with anybody.”

Warren County (4-6) finished

with 207 yards rushing,

most coming on a pair

of 80-yard touchdown

drives in the first half. The

Pioneers were the first team

since Kenwood in Week 2

to score twice against the

defending state champions

in the first half, with the

Knights hitting on a pair of

80-yard touchdown passes

in an 86-14 loss.

The Pioneers didn’t have a

quick-strike attack. Instead, they

methodically moved down the

field, scoring on drives of 15 and 13

plays in the first half.

The tone was set from the first

snap when CJ Taylor, who played

tailback for the majority of the

game, got loose off the edge for 27

yards. The Pioneers would keep

the ball for over nine minutes,

aided by a pair of fourth-down

conversions, before Bryson Elrod

scored on a five-yard QB sneak to

give the visitors a 7-0 lead.

There wasn’t much diversity on

the drive. Whether it was Taylor

going right, Elrod working the

middle or Xander Lee and

Lacederick Cox getting the call on

counters, the Pioneers were going

to run right at the Patriots.

“We ran the same play almost

every time and just ran it down

their throat. I loved it,” said senior

lineman Noah Martin.

“They couldn’t stop it,” added

senior tackle Dillon Haley. “We

knew it was us versus them and

we were going to come out on top.

That was our mindset.”

Oakland responded with backto-

back TD drives, the second

aided by a 12-yard punt from the

Pioneers backed up in the shadows

of the goal post that gave the

Patriots the ball at the Pioneer 17.

Kody Sparks gave his team the

lead on a 4-yard TD pass to Victor

Stephenson early in the second


Warren County wouldn’t go

away though.

The Pioneers mounted a 13-play

drive to tie, again turning to the

ground game to churn out yards.

Taylor ran seven times on the drive,

part of a night where he’d finish

with a career-high 28 carries for 119

yards (most given up by Oakland

to a single player this season),

before getting his team to the goal

line with a pass.

Taylor took a sweep toss, but

pulled up in the back field and

launched a perfect pass into the

hands of Kason Holder at the

Oakland 2. Holder was kept out of

the endzone, but Elrod snuck in on

the next play to knot the score at


The wheels came off on the

ensuing kickoff when Dejon

Glaster broke 10 tackles and

weaved from sideline-to-sideline

on an 85-yard kickoff return touchdown.

From there, Oakland took


The Patriots scored on their first

two offensive plays of the second

half, getting a 58-yard touchdown

run from Tim Pannell and 42-yard

sprint from Jordan Brown.