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Young Pioneers ready for action
Harley Hernandez.jpg
Harley Hernandez has flashed his athleticism as a quarterback and safety for the Pioneer freshman team. The young Pioneers will play Monday at home at 6 p.m.

After a long layoff, the Warren County High School freshman team will be back in action Monday night.

The young Pioneers are set to take on Coffee County at Nunley Stadium at 6 p.m., their fourth game this season. Warren County enters the matchup 2-1, including a 34-14 victory over the Red Raiders Sept. 16 in its last action.

In one of his first actions after being named head coach, Matt Turner made it known the high school would bring back freshman football. He’s been thrilled with how it has gone thus far.

“We came in trying to revive the program and it’s went really well. We were under the eight-ball when we came in to get games, so I’ve not gotten them the playing time I wanted to, but otherwise, it’s been great,” said Turner. “Coach (David) Upton has done well balancing the lag time between games and keeping them active. They’re getting in the weight room and getting stronger.

“It’s a great first step and very important to what we’re trying to do as a program here.”

Warren County debuted with a 20-12 victory over Rockvale Aug. 26, but followed with a 48-0 loss to Oakland three days later. In their first road game, Braylon Grayson carried the team to a victory over Coffee County.

Turner is already seeing plenty of players who could become big factors on the varsity squad next season.

“Some of these freshmen will be getting varsity snaps next year. Having freshman football is a key component for us to be competitive down the road,” said Turner. “As we build up, we’ll hope to have freshman, junior varsity and varsity football.”

Filling the roster will be vital. The freshman team brought out over 30 players this year, a huge boost after Warren County’s varsity roster dropped below 30 Pioneers late last season. Still, Turner knows there’s more work to be done.

“Word is getting out. Before this year, we were having to tell the kids what we were going to have – a locker room just for them, a full schedule and a coaching staff dedicated to them. Now we can show them what it’s going to look like,” said Turner. 

Turner continued, “This year’s team will help us recruit. Their success will help attract their friends and guys who may want to get on board with what we’re building.”

Monday won’t be the only time the freshman team gets under the lights at Nunley Stadium this week. Coach Turner is also planning to dress his freshmen Friday against Coffee County for the varsity team’s final home game.

“We want them to see how it is on the sidelines on Fridays, so we’re going to dress them. It’s important for them to know what its likes when the crowd is roaring,” said Turner.

Friday’s game, which will also be against Coffee County, will start at 7 p.m.