Y VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Pioneer (3-1) at Indianapolis Attucks (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
After a loss in Week 3 to New Haven, Pioneer scored 24 points in the first quarter and went on to beat Caston 52-6 last week.
Pioneer also held Caston and their triple-option offense without an offensive touchdown. Pioneer was coming off games against Chesterton, a Class 6A team, and New Haven, a Class 4A team, that they had to schedule in an impromptu fashion after coronavirus-related postponements against Winamac and laVille.
“I thought we had a really great week of practice last week,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “I thought that the focus was there. We talked to the guys, and it was nice to see that they did come out and play so well after playing a 6A and a 4A team that we weren’t really familiar with. They could have very easily, I guess, quote unquote, gotten comfortable playing someone that we’re familiar with. But you know, they stepped, they had a great week of practice, and they played very disciplined football. It was just nice to see.”
Berry said they slowed practice down during the week of practice in preparing for Caston, especially when addressing offensive line play. He said it was a “step by step” manner of trying to correct the mistakes that occurred in a 32-28 loss to New Haven the previous week.
“Sometimes the players don’t like that four weeks into the season,” Berry said. “They like to just go. But it was a really great time for us after we had so many mistakes the previous week to do that, and we did take a step in the right direction with our offensive line.”
The Panthers travel to Indianapolis Attucks, a Class 4A school this week. Pioneer beat Indianapolis Attucks 60-8 last year.
This is the fifth season Attucks has fielded a varsity football squad and the third year they will participate in the IHSAA state tournament.
The Tigers are 2-1 and coming off a 30-18 win over Indianapolis Manual last week. Caleb Davenport is a dual threat at quarterback.
“The first thing you do notice is their quarterback,” Berry said. “He’s an athlete. When he gets out in space, he can make a move on you and outrun you. And so we’re going to have to do a nice job of containing him. Our d-line is going to have to do that. Our linebackers are going to have to contain him when he scrambles out. And he throws a pretty good ball when he does scramble, so he puts the DBs in a tough situation if they need to come up and stop him or stay in coverage.”
Berry said that both Ezra Lewellen and Addai Lewellen have said their respective ankle injuries have both improved, and he anticipates that both will play against Attucks after not playing against Caston.