We hope our readers have enjoyed all the preseason position breakdowns of the Pioneers. The Warren County Sports Authority would like to thank Douglas and Lanier Agency for being the sponsor for all our preseason breakdowns, which are all linked at the bottom of the story and include the quarterbacks, running backs/wings, wide receivers, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, special teams and coaching staff.
Make sure to keep track on the WCSA as we give you the best details on the Pioneers before they kick off the season tonight at DeKalb County. Read more about the season kickoff here: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/pioneers-and-tigers-ready-for-another-epic-meeting
We’re closing out our breakdowns with an in-depth look at this year’s schedule:
If fans looked at the schedule this season and had plenty of questions, just know they’re not alone. Nothing is familiar about the 2022 schedule for the Pioneers – aside from starting the season with DeKalb County. After that, things get wild quick.
Warren County will play just its second game in the Memphis area in Week 3 when it travels to Memphis, while it also will have just four home games due to last year’s COVID-19 cancellations. The Pioneers also are guaranteed a Thursday game this year (Oct. 20 vs. Franklin County) – something that has happened in the past, but usually due to weather forecasts, not preseason scheduling.
Coach Matt Turner, like in all phases of the program, is just taking the schedule one step at a time.
“We knew after last year that there would be challenges when it came to scheduling, but we’re just focused on DeKalb County right now,” said Turner earlier this week. “When the TSSAA announced that all teams would be playing at least one game on Thursday, we knew that would add another wrinkle, but fortunately that’s a home game and it’s something we’ve experienced before.
“We played a Thursday game a couple years ago at home and it didn’t stop Pioneer Nation from showing up. I don’t think this year’s schedule will stop them from being there either.”
Fans will always flock to Pioneer games, but they’re going to rack up the miles this year. As one WC Sports Authority follower noted on Instagram, everybody better “check their tires and get some fresh oil.” Warren County will have to be road warriors as the season starts with four straight away from home (part of a 10-game schedule with six away from Nunley Stadium).
The Pioneers, like all teams, usually play a balanced schedule with five home games and five away games, but last year’s cancellations took their toll on Squad 54. Warren County lost its home game against Sparta last year, but still has to honor the two-year contract and make the trip to White County in Week 2.
But, since the Pioneers weren’t able to make it to Ridgeway last September, they will have to make that trip this year. TSSAA scheduling rules dictated it as Warren County was the team that had to cancel due to COVID and the Road Runners were granted a make-up home game this year.
Warren County hasn’t made its way to West Tennessee in decades. Bobby Newby last guided the Pioneers to the Memphis area in 1984, when Warren County fell to Germantown 1984. Coach Turner isn’t sweating it though, particularly after starting his first year with a pretty lengthy road trip to Lawrence County that gave him a blueprint on how to handle this year’s pilgrimage west.
“Our first year, we had to go three hours to Lawrence County, so Memphis won’t be that much further in the grand scheme of things. We learned our lesson about making it a one-day trip though – you can’t play well when you come off that long of a bus ride, even with us stopping in the middle to try to get them out and moving last time. We’re planning on making our way there on Thursday this year and get some practice time in Friday at a local campus,” said Turner.
Ridgeway was an odd pairing when it was announced before last year, but Turner says it was a necessary one after both teams seemingly drew the short straw in region meetings.
“Week 3 has traditionally been when many teams start their region schedules, so you’re kind of holding that date on your schedule and waiting to see how the region shakes out. When we joined this new region before the 2021 season, we were the odd-man out of the five teams for the first week, so we had to go search for an opponent after many teams already filled their schedules,” said Turner.
During the search for two-year pairing (which turned out be just a solo matchup due to last year’s cancellation), Ridgeway and a team from Bowling Green were in Turner’s final two. The RoadRunners – picked as the best team in Region 8-4A by some outlets – were the final choice.
Warren County will also be making a return trip to Mt. Juliet in Week 4, the same place where the best group of Pioneers in four decades saw their season come to an end two years ago. Mt. Juliet downed Warren County 17-13 in the final minute of an opening round matchup in the 6A playoffs in 2020, then beat the Pioneers 38-20 at Nunley Stadium last year in what turned out to be Warren County’s first game of 2021.
The Pioneers also will head to Shelbyville on Oct. 14 and Lebanon – a preseason top 10 team according to the Tennessean – on Oct. 28. Warren County’s shortest trips come in the first two weeks – at DeKalb County and at White County (Aug. 26).
Warren County won’t play its first home game until Friday, Sept. 16 when Cookeville comes to town. The Pioneers hold a two-game winning streak in the series with the Cavaliers after losing 11 in a row dating back to 2009 (Cookeville went 26-1 against the Pioneers from 1993-2019).
The Pioneers will host Coffee County for homecoming on Friday, Sept. 30, while the seniors will be honored in the Thursday matchup with Franklin County. Warren County also takes on Siegel at home on Sept. 23 (part of a three-game homestand).
Season tickets for the Pioneers can be purchased at: https://gofan.co/app/events/662285?schoolId=TN8715_2&fbclid=IwAR2S6DxJdPfD-_3XJH335L9kN8YGseqQoPN7VIniGtviMedM6DqMX-cL9hg
Previous Position Breakdowns
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Simmons Says breakdown of preseason scrimmages: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/simmons-says-fact-and-fiction-from-pioneer-preseason