Season wrap-up: Pioneer’s loss to Triton ends first losing season since 1995
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Triton running back Anthony Schuh was seemingly headed for a loss of several yards toward the right sideline before he reversed field and ran 56 yards for a touchdown in the Trojans 42-6 win over the Pioneer football team in a Class 1A, Sectional 41 quarterfinal last week.
“That’s where he reversed fields and got the edge,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “There might have been a questionable, possible either block in the back or blindside block, but you know what, they didn’t call it, and he made a play. Overall, I thought, especially in the first half, our guys gave a darn good effort. We contained him for the most part, but when you’re a great back, you’re going to find a way, and those two guys (Schuh and quarterback Cole Shively) did.”
Pioneer lost their sixth straight game to finish 2-8. It’s their first losing season since 1995. The six straight losses were by an average margin of 31 points per game.
“You don’t want to be the team or the coach to have that first losing record, but hopefully, it’s motivation for the returning guys and the incoming freshmen to not let it happen again,” Berry said. “That’s going to be a point of emphasis to remember that this is not obviously the greatest season and to remember these feelings after losses and not just close losses but blowouts. That’s going to be a point of emphasis this offseason in the weight room.”
Berry, a Pioneer grad, reflected on the evolution of the program, when they went from 3-7 in 1995 to 15-0 and a state title in 1997. He hopes to see a parallel with that era moving forward. He calls the upcoming offseason the most important since he’s been the head coach.
“Back when I was going through the program, I always heard obviously about the ‘97 team,” Berry said. “They were the first team to have a little success in 1996, and then they had a full commitment going into that ‘97 season, and it obviously paid off.
Personally, that group of sophomores after the ‘16 season … Jack (Kiser), Conner (Walker), Danny (Gregorich), those guys … they did not like that. They still had that sick feeling losing the state championship, and their mindset was that’s not happening again. We need to work harder, so it doesn’t happen. As coaches, we can say it all we want. It really has to come from the players truly wanting it. I’m excited to see how this group responds.”