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
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.