Warriors surge past Renegades

from Staff Reports

   The Johnson City based, Tennessee Warriors (2-0) took a big step towards the AFL championship Saturday Night with a 13-7 victory over the Tennessee Renegades (1-1) from Kingsport.
   In a game characterized by Defense and Special Teams, the Warriors found their stride in the second half, and outplayed the Renegades down the stretch.
   The first half saw both teams struggle offensively as neither team could find an effective game plan. Meanwhile both defenses were busy making life miserable for the opposition.
   The Renegades would threaten early in the second quarter and it looked as if they would take the early lead. Taking possession of the ball on the Warrior 24 yard line, they would fumble the ball away 4 plays later. The fumble cost the Renegades a chance at a field goal, and cost them the early lead
   The Warriors took control but could not contain the blitz packages showcased by the Kingsport team. The first half ended in a virtual stalemate, as the score remained knotted at 0-0.
   The second half brought wholesale adjustments for the Warriors offensive scheme. Head coach Shannon Simpson abandoned his complicated approach and opted for some old fashioned smashmouth.
   Power I formations and two tight end sets remained the staple for the rest of the game as the Warriors became content to run the football and chew up clock.
   Running behind John Sluder and Jeremy Puckett, the Warriors returned to the basics and controlled the pace throughout the second half. Running back Jimmy Neeley and Linebacker/Fullback Kevin Carroll cranked out some tough yardage and converted key first downs for
   On their first drive of the second half, the power attack took over for the Warriors and gradully gained ground. The drive stalled in the red zone however, and Simpson settled for the field goal.
   Travis Brown hit the 29 yard kick, and put the Warriors ahead 3-0.
   The Renegades would strike back, and they did so in a big way. It took only four plays before quarterback Gerard Lee hit a slanting Jeremy Graves for the Touchdown. The TD strike and following point after put the Renegades ahead 7-3.
   The following offensive effort for the Warriors failed to garner a first down, and punter Joe Beaver pinned the Renegades on their own 9 yard line with a solid punt of 40 yards.
   In desparate need of a defensive stand, the Warriors went one better. On the second play of the drive Linebacker Mike Gibson picked off an errant pass, and took it to the house. The touchdown and PAT put the Warriors back on top 10-7.
   From that point on it was all defense, as the running game consumed the clock, and the Warrior defense consumed the Renegades.
   The Warriors added another field goal midway through the fourth quarter to take the victory 13-7.
   Simpson was pleased with his defensive effort, but stressed that improvements must be made before the rematch in three weeks, "Our defense has been playing great, and they did so again tonight," Simpson said, "Our team came together and found a way to win in the second half, and I'm real happy about that."
   With Defense leading the way, and the offensive side of the ball slowly taking shape, the Warriors hope to contine the undefeated streak to the end of the regular season.