- Val T.
Week 10 preview: After loss to Judson, Pioneer to face off against athletic Triton
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Class 1A, Sectional 41 quarterfinal: Triton (6-3) at Pioneer (2-7), 7 p.m.
(winner plays North Judson-South Newton winner in semifinals)
Pioneer fell behind 21-2 at halftime against North Judson in an eventual 55-8 loss.
The loss was Pioneer’s fifth straight and their first loss against North Judson since 2008.
Still, Pioneer coach Adam Berry noticed improvements defensively and called it “one of our better games.”
“Really what kept us in the game in the first half was our defense,” Berry said. “I thought we played their triple option pretty well. We showed intensity, what we’ve been looking for all season. We had a blocked punt for a touchdown. So really, our defense played pretty darn well even though the score was 21-2 at halftime.”
Rylahn Toloza had 127 of the Panthers’ 139 rushing yards against North Judson, though Berry noted that his stats were “a little deceiving” given that he had a big gain in the fourth quarter after the outcome had been decided.
Freshman quarterback Micah Rans is “just getting more comfortable,” according to Berry.
Now Pioneer will try to run on a Triton team that beat them 35-12 on Sept. 23 in Bourbon. While Triton allowed 21.1 points per game during the regular season, they allowed under seven points per game in their six wins.
“Like a lot of teams in our conference, it starts with their interior linebackers,” Berry said. “They scrape really well to the ball. They do a great job of reading their keys, flow and making stops at the line of scrimmage. It starts with them, and they do that really well, and then their safety comes up and does a nice job making plays. You can tell they’re well coached. They know the other team’s game plan, and they read their keys extremely well.”
Offensively, junior running back Anthony Schuh, who has 1,517 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, leads the Triton attack, but receivers Dante’ Workman and Amari Snyder are receiving threats. Quarterback Cole Shively has accounted for 19 touchdowns – 13 rushing, six passing.
“I’ve said this since we’ve joined the HNAC,” Berry said. “If you watch multiple sports within the conference, you know Triton always has tremendous athletes. We just knew one of these years, they were going to be a little more committed to football than what they were wanting to do, and that time is now. All over the field, they have great athletes. And so, you can tell that they work on multiple facets of the game, and their receivers are athletic, run great routes, and the quarterback puts the ball where it needs to be.”
This is the second postseason meeting between Pioneer and Triton. The Panthers blanked the Trojans 66-0 in the 2018 regional.
Pioneer has won their sectional opener in nine of the last 10 years.
Silas Rouch will miss the game due to injury, and Brian Gluth is “probably out” for Pioneer, according to Berry.
If Pioneer wins, they would play either North Judson or South Newton on the road in the semifinals.