The last time the Central High School football team took on Warren County, the Red Raiders piled on offensive yards in a 35-13 victory. This year's game saw a reversal of fortune.
Back in McMinnville on Friday, October 18, CHS was unable to keep up with the Pioneers in a 42-20 loss.
"We knew pretty early on it was gonna be a high-scoring affair and we needed to match them with scores," Coach Doug Greene said. "We just needed to execute better and the kids know. They played hard."
Besides most of the second quarter, the Pioneers were able to maintain a two-possession lead over the Raiders during the game.
On the offensive end, the Raiders struggled to complete multiple passes and execute on some important plays. Meanwhile, the CHS defense had to work hard to contain the improved Pioneer offense, especially in the running game.
"[Warren County] made some big plays when they had to," Greene said. "All ball games come down to about five big plays, whichever team makes them. Tonight, we didn't make them."
The Pioneers opened the first quarter with back-to-back touchdowns on their first and second possessions.
Down 14-0 early, the Raiders responded to the second Warren County touchdown by marching down the field off a string of runs from Marshall Haney. The drive was capped off with a pass from Conner Shemwell to Collin Ward to the end zone to cut the deficit in half with under a minute left in the quarter.
After Warren County's C.J. Taylor ran 24 yards to the end zone within the first minute of the second quarter, the Raider offense went three-and-out but got another chance not long after.
The ensuing Pioneer drive after the CHS three-and-out was ended on its first play on a fumble recovery from C.J. Anthony. Taking over on the Warren County 32-yard line, Matthew Pittman ran the entire length to the end zone. The extra kick made it a 21-14 Warren County lead at the 9:18 mark.
The Pioneers again pulled away with under two minutes left in the half when Taylor ran in for his second touchdown. The next Raider drive ended in an interception to set up Warren County in CHS territory. A long pass to the end zone was completed with time expiring to put the Raiders down 35-14 at the break.
CHS was unable to climb back from its 21-point hole in the second half. The Pioneers started off by upping the lead to 42-14.
Later in the third quarter, Pittman capped off three straight running plays with a three-yard scamper to the end zone with 35 seconds left. The play was helped by Anthony, whose long punt return prior to the drive gave the Raiders excellent field position.
Pittman's touchdown was the game's final for both teams.
This was the second straight loss for CHS, after a late lead change the week prior against Maplewood cost the team on Friday, October 11. The losses also came with a home matchup looming against 8-0 Oakland on October 25.
"Only thing they can do is go back to work. We're gonna focus on what we do, how to do it better, try to heal up a little bit," Greene said. "The boys are working hard, they're doing the right things, they're just gonna go back to work. There's nothing else you can do."
The Raiders will kick off against Oakland next Friday at 7 p.m.