PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Number six in your program but number one in your heart. Belfry’s own Sani Warren will be entering his junior season as a UPike Bear more improved than ever.
The UPike Bears football team team finished third in the Mid-South Conference’s East Division last year after setting in first for a big part of the season. One of the big players that got them there was Belfry’s own Sani Warren in his sophomore season as the teams quarterback. Warren gained entry into the position because of injury his freshman year and he showed enough to earn a spot on the Bears offense as a freshman. Warren dealt with his own injury issues last season and returns for his junior year a little faster, a little stronger, and a lot wiser.
“This is my third year in this offense and the coaches have done a great job breaking it down for me. We have been over and over the details and I feel that this is our year. I am extremely comfortable with this offense, sometimes I make mistakes but the coaches have been good about correcting me instead of hurting me. We are just going to let it roll and do what we do,” said Warren.
Warren finished the 2015 season with 95 completions on 172 attempts. he had 1,365 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns, his longest completion was 81-yards long. Warren also ran in three touchdowns. Warren played seven games last season but was sidelined a few times to injuries. However, he also finished the season with 194 all-purpose rushing yards as well.
Head Coach Allan Holland, Jr. said he is expecting big things out of his junior QB this season.
Warren said he has been working hard in the off season and staying focused.
“In the off season I always try to work as hard as I can whether it’s in the weight room or film room. I get with all the guys I can and we all go over the plays. We have all worked hard in the off season and I feel like this year we have the chance and opportunity to really get things done because I have seen all of the hard work this team has put in over the off season,” said Warren.
The Bears enter the season with a pre-season ranking of third.
Warren said none of this would be possible if it were not for his training received at Belfry High School. ” I miss those guys a lot, they have a great coaching staff and I owe them a lot for where I am now. I am very proud of them and how great they are doing. I just want to say thanks to everyone back home and I hope I am making everyone proud,” said Warren.
Xondre Willis is a name you may also remember. Willis was the pirates break-away back last season as the Pirates clinched their third straight state title. Willis is starting his freshman year as a Bear and has big expectations for his football career at UPike.
Willis said, “It’s a big transition to move up to the next level but i feel I have been prepared well. I’m learning everything I can and the older guys have really been helping me along. We are going to have a good year this year and hopefully get that ring for a championship. I am ready to do whatever my team needs me to do and step up and be who they want me to be.”
Willis joins Warren as another Belfry alum who has helped the jolly Roger flag wave high above a state championship title for the Pirates. Both players are doing what they can to make their hometown proud.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] on on twitter @sidplaster.)