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WCMS tops Tullahoma
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Coach Adam Wood may have stumbled onto a winning formula during his first season as head coach of the Warren County Middle School football team. When the Pioneers don’t let their opponent score, the team is undefeated.
Warren County improved to 2-3 this season Tuesday night when the Pioneers beat Tullahoma East Middle School 8-0 on the road.
Shutting out each opponent is always the goal for the Warren County defense and it has happened twice this season. The Pioneers surrendered 44 points in a shutout loss to Shelbyville last week, but the Warren County defense got back to playing hard-nosed football in Tullahoma.
The Pioneers controlled the home team’s offense and the only time Tullahoma mounted a drive, Warren County forced a critical turnover to preserve a victory.
Coach Wood thought winning the turnover battle in such a close game made the difference.
“It was a defensive battle, both offenses were sluggish from the start,” said Wood. “We were able to win the turnover battle, forcing one by them while we held onto the ball. It played an important role in the victory.”
The Pioneer defense has had its ups and downs this season as Warren County began the season with back-to-back losses. The Pioneers bounced back by beating Franklin South 34-0 in a game where the Warren County defense allowed less than 100 yards of offense to its opponent.
After allowing Shelbyville to score at will a week ago, the Pioneer defense kept Tullahoma scoreless until the final quarter, when Warren County finally took the lead for good.
Brendan Breedlove provided the spark on offense to put the Pioneers on the board. Breedlove busted up the gut on a 20-yard run in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game’s only touchdown. Quarterback Trayton Rackley added the two-point conversion on a scramble, giving Warren County an 8-0 lead.
Tullahoma tried to get back in the game, but the Pioneer defense was up to the task of keeping the home team off the scoreboard for 32 minutes.
Winning a close game was important to coach Wood, who had seen his team play in four blowouts before Tuesday.
“This was the first game that was in contention when the fourth quarter began,” said Wood. “The rest have been lopsided games where we were up or down big when the final quarter started.
“It was great to see the guys come together in the second half and pull out a victory in a hard-fought game. I think our guys showed a lot of character.”
Warren County had to be resilient on offense as miscues took away two good scoring opportunities throughout the contest.
The Pioneers looked destined to put points on the board on their opening drive, but Warren County stalled after getting in a first-and-goal situation. Warren County was stuffed at the line on its first two plays, then a penalty backed the Pioneers into a fourth-and-long situation.
Warren County couldn’t convert and gave the ball back to Tullahoma on downs.
The first half would see both teams swap possessions, but neither reached the endzone.
At halftime, the Pioneers started making adjustments hoping the offense would find a way to score points.
Coach Wood called a play in a new formation that looked like it did the trick early in the third quarter, but Raliegh Woods’ 80-yard touchdown run was called back on an illegal formation penalty.
Warren County was forced to punt and Tullahoma mounted a long drive that put the Pioneers on their heels.
The defense bowed its back near its own 30 though, as a fumble was pounced on by a host of Pioneers and Warren County regained possession.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when the Pioneers could seize control of the game. When Breedlove busted open the game with a TD, the Pioneers started to celebrate their second win.
Warren County hopes to continue its winning ways Tuesday when the Pioneers play host to Coffee County. The Pioneers will rekindle their rivalry with the Red Raiders in front of the WCMS student body as the game is scheduled to begin during school hours.
Coach Wood thinks the game will feature two evenly matched teams that will be playing in front of the biggest crowd both teams will see this season.
“We’ll have 800 kids out watching our team and Coffee County always like to bring a lot of students as well,” said Wood. “This is kind of like our Super Bowl with over 1,000 fans in attendance. I expect another close game.”
Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. at Nunley Stadium.