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WCHS starts region play with Rockvale
Being better in the trenches is vital for the Pioneers against Rockvale Friday. Warren County is averaging a shade under four yards per carry through two weeks. Pictured are Douglas Wells, left, and Austin McBride. Both are expected to start this Friday, along with Dillon Haley, Kaden Jordan and Noah Martin. - photo by Jeffery Simmons
Photo courtesy of Brent Milam/ Daily News Journal The Rockvale backfield is fueled by brotherly love. Brothers LaMarcus Nelson, left, and LaMarious Nelson helped the Rockets score 47 points last week. LaMarcus, a freshman, has seven touchdowns in two games.

Matt Turner has preached to his team since taking over the importance of moving forward and not looking back. He’ll get a chance to see how much the Pioneers heeded his advice Friday.

Warren County will be back in action at home a week after suffering a stunning 20-7 loss at Cannon County. The Pioneers will start region play with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Rockvale Rockets, the new Rutherford County school added to the slate this season.

In many ways, Turner believes it’s the perfect time to be seeing somebody new.

“Looking at the silver lining from last week, we got a wake-up call in Cannon County,” said Turner. “It hurts to lose, but we want to play in November and that starts this week. It’s a new school and we have to step up and compete.”

Turner and his staff wasted little time trying to erase memories of last week. The team gathered on Labor Day to observe film and practice before eating together. Instead of stressing the mistakes made in the loss, Turner wanted to take time to try a different approach.

“We haven’t gelled yet and aren’t always playing for each other. We want to see teammates picking each other up, getting excited and playing until the whistle blows,” said Turner. “In the second half, we shut their offense down, but you would’ve thought the score was 100-0 instead of 13-7. We have to be mentally focused, burn the ship and move on.”

Being accountable to each other and worrying about what the Pioneers can do better was a recurring theme in practice. Even with such a mystery on the opposite sideline coming Friday, Turner wants to take care of in-house business.

“We’re all in this together – the players, the coaches, everybody. We’re learning a new offense and defense and our staff is learning too,” said Turner. “We have to worry about us. If we can take care of that, we’ll try to handle Rockvale.

“I have a lot of respect for their head coach. He’s a state champion who knows how to put together a successful program. You can tell it on film. Right now though, we’re asking ourselves, ‘what can we do better?’”

Rockvale comes to Nunley Stadium in search of its first win in program history. The Rockets lost 44-20 to LaVergne in Week 1, then fell in a shootout 58-47 at home against Franklin County.

Rockvale, which has just four seniors on its roster, relies heavily on backfield brothers Lamarious and Lamarcus Nelson. Lamarious is the team’s sophomore quarterback, while his younger brother Lamarcus has scored seven times in two games from his running back spot.

Warren County expects to have the services of quarterback CJ Taylor, who was banged up in last week’s loss, against the Rockets. Taylor has practiced this week leading up to the region matchup. The Pioneers also expect to have Aaron Ashburn back after the defensive end missed a game following a leg injury against DeKalb County.

The Pioneer Walk is set to start at 5:45 p.m. from Caldwell St. before the game.