Raiders beat Dragons 53-12, win third straight

Make in three-in-a-row for Warren East. 

The Raiders, who entered Thursday’s game at Warren Central with back-to-back wins over Russell County and Edmonson County under their belts, were able to extend their win streak to three with a 53-12 victory over the Dragons at Joe Hood Field.

“We wanted to come out and play well tonight,” Warren East coach Jeff Griffith said. “That’s what we wanted to do. We feel like we’ve played well the last couple of weeks and kind of been building towards this. Sitting 2-0 in the district is certainly where we wanted to be – and we’re there.”

Warren East (4-3 overall, 2-0 Class 4A, District 2) trailed 6-0 early but fired back with 21 straight points and later added 26 to their side of the scoreboard in the third to stay in front from that point forward and never looked back. 

Quarterback Nolan Ford finished with four total touchdowns – three passing and one rushing – to lead the Raiders, while running back Damontra Pillow recorded three rushing TDs to highlight East’s offense.

Warren Central (0-7, 0-3) – which has lost 42 straight games dating back to Oct. 16, 2015 — won the coin toss, elected to receive the opening kickoff and quickly went to work. 

“It’s great because we were supposed to come in here and win – and we did exactly what we were supposed to do,” Ford said. “They did come out and drove the ball down the field really nice, but we came back and answered – and we did that all game.”

Putting together a lengthy 19-play, 88-yard opening drive that knocked over six minutes off the clock, the Dragons capped the long series with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Trenton Leach. Central’s two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but it had a 6-0 lead at the 5:43 mark of the first quarter.

Warren East responded with a solid drive of its own, covering 81 yards with seven plays and finding the end zone on a 20-yard TD run from Ford to jump in front 7-6 with 2:34 left in the opening period.

Just before the end of the first, Pillow intercepted a pass from Leach and put the Raiders in a good spot to start the second as they needed just 37 seconds to score on a 2-yard TD run by KJ Alexander to increase their advantage to 14-6.

East made it 21-6 at the 4:40 mark with Pillow’s 5-yard run, but Warren Central answered with a 37-yard TD pass from Leach to Tayton Smith – which included Smith making the catch, shedding a couple of tackles and making a nice spin move before crossing the pylon – to get within 21-12 with 2:37 remaining in the half.

With just over 30 seconds left on the clock, Ford tossed a 26-yard TD pass to EJ Smith to send the Raiders into the locker room up 27-12.

“We started off slow, but ever since we came back from halftime and coached talked to us, we just kept the ball moving and scoring touchdowns,” Pillow said. “Having a good quarterback and line holding it up for us, coach giving us a good speech on how we should come in here, dominate and do what we do.”

Warren East pushed its advantage to 34-12 early into the third as Ford connected with DeSean Gilbert for a 35-yard score – and the Raiders soon followed up with a 3-yard TD run from Pillow to go up 40-12 at the 6:34 mark and take complete control. 

The Raiders scored twice more from there – including another TD by Pillow – to seal it entering the fourth. 

Both sides will be off next week for fall break. Warren East’s next matchup comes on Oct. 18 at home against Allen County-Scottsville, while Warren Central travels to Franklin-Simpson that same night. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. 

“I think we’re doing pretty good,” Pillow said when asked how the team is playing right now. “It’s all the coaches’ job. They tell us what to do – and we fulfill it.” 

Warren East 53, Warren Central 12

WC – 6            6            0           0   —  12

WE – 7           20          26          0   —  53 

First quarter

WC – Leach 1 run (2-point fails), 5:43

WE – Ford 20 run (Vondracek kick), 2:34

Second quarter

WE – Alexander 2 run (Vondracek kick), 11:23

WE – Pillow 5 run (Vondracek kick), 4:40

WC – Leach 37 pass to Smith (2-point fails), 2:37

WE – Ford 26 pass to Smith (Kick missed), 0:25.1

Third quarter

WE – Ford 35 pass to Gilbert (Vondracek kick), 9:24

WE – Pillow 3 run (Kick blocked), 6:34

WE – Ford 6 pass to Sanders (2-point fails), 4:03

WE – Pillow 6 run (Vondracek kick), 0:20.3

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