The Warren County Screaming Devils traveled to Pelham to face the Hornets in the second round of the GHSA state playoffs.
"We started a little sluggish and were trailing 7-6 at the half," Simpson said. "However in the second half, our guys began to execute and perform much better. We were eventually able to wear Pelham down and make plays. We had two huge defensive plays in the second half that really flipped the game around for us. Overall I was extremely proud of how our players responded. Late in the game as things started to get out of hand with many unsportsmanlike penalties our players did a great job of maintaining their composure."
Pelham scored first with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 6:06 to go in the first quarter. The PAT was good, putting the Hornets up 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Warren County received possession but were quickly stopped and had to punt. Pelham got the ball deep in their own territory. Pelham then fumbled and Warren County recovered. Rashad Myers then scored on a 10-yard run with a failed two-point conversion, bringing the score to 7-6 with two minutes to go in the first quarter.
The score remained 7-6 going into halftime, but the second half was all Screaming Devils as they scored 26 unanswered points.
With approximately six minutes left in the third quarter, Camron Tucker broke free on the first big play of the game with a 52-yard run to the four yard line. Then, Travis Moss scored a four-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Warren County went up 12-7 with 5:49 to go in the third quarter.
"He [Tucker] was able to break a tackle and follow an outstanding block from Enoch Grier on third and 3 midway through the quarter," Simpson said. "This run really opened the floodgates for us offensively."
Taurus Wynn scored on a four-yard run with 8:58 to go in the fourth quarter, and Travis Moss scored the two-point conversion to bring the score to 20-7.
Then, the defense stepped in to score two more touchdowns. Ken'Vonte Brinkley put pressure on the Pelham quarterback, hitting him from behind and causing him to fumble. Enoch Grier picked it up and ran for a 50-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Warren County was now leading 26-7 with 7:22 to go in the game.
Pelham was threatening to score, but the defense again stepped in, as JP Simon hit a Hornet receiver as he caught a pass near the endzone. He fumbled and Lorenzo Johnson scooped up the ball and took it in for a 90-yard touchdown with 33 seconds left in the game, bringing the final score to 32-7.
Because of the GHSA coin flip, Warren County will be hosting the third round of the state playoffs against Brooks County. This is the third consecutive year the Screaming Devils have advanced to the third round of the playoffs. Brooks County has been the state runner up for the past two years.
"Making the third round of the playoffs for the third consecutive year is extremely exciting for our team and fans," Simpson said. "Being one of the final eight teams left playing is something that is not an easy task to accomplish. The fact that we are able to make this far with limited numbers, shows the heart and desire of this tight knit group of guys. As we get deeper and deeper in the playoffs the crowds get bigger and more energetic, and our players feed off of that. We are looking forward to having a big crowd this Friday to help push our guys over the third round hump."
Warren County will face off against Brooks County on Nov. 26 at 7:30 pm at Albert J Massey Field in Warrenton.
"Playoff games are won and lost on mistakes," Simpson said. "We will continue to work to eliminate our mistakes and to force them into mistakes. Brooks County will bring lots of tradition to town. They have played for the state title each of the last two years. They are a talented and well seasoned team. To be successful we will have to be the best version of the Warren County Screaming Devils that we can be."