The football Tigers dropped the season opener to Warren County in a 34-30 heartbreaker Friday night.
The DCHS team took on the Pioneers at home Friday night, and Warren County won the opening coin toss, electing to let DeKalb receive the kickoff, an onside kick which was recovered by Drew Castorena at the Tiger 30-yard line. A four-play, 70-yard drive put the Tigers on the board early, with DCHS quarterback Steven Jennings completing a pass to AJ Mooneyham, a handoff to Luke Boss, and two quarterback keepers which culminated in a 13-yard run for the touchdown.
An extra point kick by Mathew Poss put the Tigers up 7-0 with 10:29 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers shut the Pioneers down on their first possession. After a holding penalty backed them up to their own nine-yard line, two pass completions brought them back to the 20 in a fourth and ten situation, forcing a punt. DeKalb took the ball back on the Warren County 47-yard line.
A third-down unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Pioneers put DeKalb on the 35-yard line with a first down, and a few plays later the Tigers found themselves at Warren County's 16-yard line on fourth down. Matthew Poss put a 28-yard kick through the uprights, putting the Tigers ahead 10-0 with 4:16 left in the first.
The Pioneers took the kickoff back to their own 22-yard line and began a drive to the goal line. Eight and four-yard runs by Bryson Lewis took the Pioneers to the Pioneer 34 and a first down, and a two-yard run by Malike Ladet , a 16-yard pass to Adrian Lusk, a 12-yard pass to Ladet, and a 30-yard carry by Lewis put Warren on the Tiger six-yard line. A five-yard keeper by quarterback Christian Wilkinson put the Pioneers on the board, with the Tigers still up 10-7.
Jennings completed a 27-yard pass to Munoz, then carried the ball himself twice, for 13 yards and a three-yard touchdown run. Another good kick by Poss put DeKalb up 17-7 with 10:21 left in the second quarter of the game.
The kickoff saw Warren County take the ball on their own 10-yard line. The Pioneers gained 18 yards on four plays before Lewis broke a 73-yard touchdown run with 7:27 on the clock. A good extra point brought Warren within three points of the Tigers, 17-14.
The Tigers marched the ball back to their 40-yard line after beginning the series on the 24, but first-and-10 holding penalty dropped them back to the 50. Two plays later DeKalb was forced to punt, allowing the Pioneers to drive toward the goal line with passes to Ladet, Adrian Lusk, and Ethan Fliss. Ladet then caught a fourth-down pass for a 14-yard touchdown. A failed extra-point attempt put the Pioneers up 21-17. Taking possession with 22 seconds left in the first half, the Tigers had time to snap the ball once before the quarter ended.
Warren County came out for the second half with an 80-yard drive, topped off by a 60-yard touchdown run by Rickie King that gave the Pioneers a 28-17 lead with 8:08 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers took the pigskin back on their own 38-yard line, but on second-and-eleven pass intended for Drew Castorena was picked off by Fliss. Warren marched to DeKalb’s 32-yard line, but penalties put them back to DeKalb’s 43, and a failed pass attempt left them in a fourth-and-14 situation. The punt rolled out of bounds at DeKalb’s seven-yard line.
After an 11-yard carry by Jennings, a 39-yard pass to Patterson and three-yard and 11-yard carries by Boss, two incomplete passes and a seven-yard run by Jennings found DeKalb at fourth and three on the Pioneer 29. An unsuccessful keeper turned the ball over to the Pioneers on their own 22.
The drive saw Jordan Bonner complete an eight-yard carry, Lewis run for three, and King for 20. Warren was penalized for delay of game, then King then ran for five more yards, Wilkinson kept the ball for 17 yards, and after gaining six more yards on two plays King fumbled and the Tigers recovered the ball on their own 19-yard line.
After pushing their way back to the Warren 44, a pass intended for Austin Brown was picked off by Lusk, and Warren took the ball back on the DeKalb 38-yard line. A fourth-and-four pass to Lusk advanced the Pioneers to the DeKalb 18, getting the Pioneers a first down.
Two penalties against the Pioneers and one against the Tigers put Warren County on the DeKalb four-yard line at first and goal at the DeKalb four. Another false start against Warren County put the ball on the nine, again. A keeper by Wilkinson brought the ball back to the five, and a delay of game penalty call moved it back to the ten.
The Pioneer quarterback then ran for a touchdown with 3:26 left in the third. A blocked extra point brought the score to 34-17 Warren County.
A fourth-quarter rally came too late for DeKalb. Taking the ball on their own 34, DeKalb came through with an eight-yard run by Jennings, an eight-yard pass to Austin Brown, a six-yard run by Jennings and a four-yard pass to Boss to give the tigers a first down, but three straight incomplete passes took DeKalb back to fourth and ten.
A 12-yard pass to Patterson and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Munoz with 1:10 on the clock in the fourth period brought the score to 34-24.
The Tigers attempted an onside kick, which rolled out of bounds at the Pioneer 40. Warren was quickly forced to punt on fourth down, and DeKalb took over with 33 seconds on the clock. The final play of the game saw the Tigers visit the end zone again on a 34-yard pass to Munoz, bringing the final score to 34-30 Pioneers.
Tiger head coach Steve Trapp told the Review after the game that while the Tigers played hard, he felt many of Friday night’s shortcomings can be solved with mental preparation.
"Offensively we were not mentally sharp," the coach said. "We were inconsistent; penalties on first down, dropped footballs. We still had a lot of yards offensively, still scored 30 points, but we had some drives stalled on what we did, not what the other team did. Defensively, we’ve just got to tackle better. We had our guys in the right spot to make plays and just didn't tackle very well."
Injuries likely did not help DeKalb’s cause either.
"We're missing our two starting tackles on offense," Trapp said. "One of those is a starting defensive end. We’re lean on lineman, but those guys battled tonight. They played hard for us, but mentally we have to play sharper on offense, and on defense we have to get the football on the ground,"
The Tigers are scheduled to host Stone Memorial of Crossville next Friday night 7 p.m. in Smithville. The Tiled to host Stone Memorial of Crossville next Friday night 7 p.m. in Smithvil