Another heartbreaking loss at home, this time 21-18 to Siegel, has the Pioneers starting the season off 1-5. They are still 0-1 in the region though, with a huge matchup coming up against Coffee County on homecoming.
The Pioneers had the ball rolling on Friday night in the first quarter, where they ultimately held the ball for nine minutes before a fumble recovery by Siegel was run back 80 yards for a Siegel touchdown. It proved to be a costly turn of events and set the tone for a tough night where Warren County would put the ball on the ground four times.
The whole game was a rollercoaster of emotions, seeing the Pioneers fought back within three of Siegel at the end of the game though it couldn’t overcome the deficit all the way. Before we get to this week's 'Good, Bad and Ugly,' sponsored by Douglas and Lanier Agency, be sure to check out our talk with coach Matt Turner following Friday's game. As always, the Warren County Sports Authority will be on the sidelines to give you the latest breaking information on Pioneer football.
Good- The offensive playbook was opened up
If you have watched a lot of Pioneers football in your time, you know that the Pioneers are mostly a running team. We have talked about this a lot and it is great to be able to have several guys who can keep it on the ground and move the ball, but sometimes it can seem a bit predictable and teams figure out how to defend it quickly.
On Friday, we saw a little bit of everything. We saw the Pioneers in a tubby set where QB Nate Elrod was under center and the Pioneers were running the ball down Siegel's throat. We also saw some QB runs by Alex van Vuuren and some pass plays, which included two 4th down throws where the Pioneers converted on both.
We even saw a screen play to Braylon Grayson that picked up 25 yards and seemed to stun the Stars.
The Pioneers can continue to be a predominantly running team, but it's nice to know Warren County has some plays in the back pocket on occasion when the other team knows how to defend the run really well.
Bad- Penalties, Penalties, Penalties
A lot of what the Pioneers have struggled with the first six games is little things. One of those little things that add up are penalties. The Pioneers racked up 80 yards worth of penalties on Friday night.
In the first drive of the game, Warren County had three penalties - two false starts and one holding call. At one point, the Pioneers had gotten down to the Siegel 8 but back to back penalties had put the Pioneers in an offensive situation they didn’t want to be in.
It ultimately ended up in a fumble with Siegel recovering and scoring on an 80-yard return, changing what looked to be a huge Pioneer drive to start the game into a demoralizing 7-0 deficit before the Stars even got their offense on the field.
Throughout the game, Warren County had several defensive offsides penalties by jumping at Siegel's hard count instead of watching the ball and were called for a few more false starts too.
In the fourth quarter, the Pioneers were down 21-10 with just two and a half minutes left and the Pioneers got a 15 yard offensive personal foul called against them because their emotions seemed to get the best of them. Coach Turner did say he was happy to see that the kids played with some emotion on Friday night, but you have to do it in the right way. If the Pioneers could limit the penalties against the rest of their opponents, there may be a much better outcome.
Ugly- Ball security
You aren’t going to win many football games if you can’t keep the ball in the hands of your offense. Warren County found out firsthand on Friday night when the Pioneers fumbled the ball four different times.
Penalties and turnovers definitely shift the momentum of the game and both were huge killers of Warren County's chances to win a big home game against Siegel.
The first fumble has been mentioned already, but the Pioneers also fumble again on the first play of the second quarter after getting a turnover from Siegel. It spoiled a chance for the Pioneers to tie it early and instead set up another Siegel touchdown that made the score 14-0.
On the next drive, the Pioneers only had the ball a minute and a half before fumbling again. All the turnovers negated the fact Warren County outgained Siegel by over 100 yards and that the home team held the ball for nearly 30 minutes.
After the half, the Pioneers did a better job of holding onto the ball until there were six minutes left in the game and the Pioneers were down 21-10. Siegel picked up their fourth fumble recovery of the night when Warren County couldn't get the exchange on a sweep play.
Ultimately, the Pioneers did get the ball back and scored a touchdown and a two point conversion but it was too late for the late night comeback they were hoping for. If the Pioneers could have held on to at least one of those fumbles the score may have looked a bit different.
Coach Turner and his coaching staff will be preaching about ball security all week as the Pioneers prepare face Coffee County Friday at 7 p.m. for Homecoming.