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  • Val T.

Week 10 preview: Pioneer defense hopes for ‘Wright’ answers against Wabash QB

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Sports Editor, RTC

Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal: Wabash (2-6) at Pioneer (7-2), 7 p.m.

Pioneer’s famed rushing attack might have reached its apex for the season in their 22-14 win over North Judson last week.

The Panthers ran for 298 yards on 5.6 yards per carry against a North Judson team that came in 5-0 in conference play and had allowed just 10.2 points per game against conference opponents.

Brock Robinson ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and Beau Mersch had a 70-yard touchdown run. Cayden Hill added 58 yards, and quarterback Caleb Sweet added 37 yards on the ground.

“I would say overall it was our best team performance, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “Brock carried us, but really all four backs ran extremely hard. Caleb Sweet picked up key first downs when they counted. Cayden ran really hard. And Beau had his big runs that he’s been able to do the last couple weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Pioneer defense has allowed just 10 points per game during their current seven-game winning streak.

This week’s challenge is Wabash sophomore quarterback Izaak Wright and junior wide receiver Antonio Grant. Both Wabash touchdowns in their 12-9 win over Whitko last week came on passes from Wright to Grant.

“Basically everything,” Berry answered when asked what type of routes Grant runs. “They’ll try to throw screens out to him to get the ball in his hands and let him make plays. They’ll throw jump balls to him. They do a great job of mixing their routes up. We were asking the players today just seeing if they were watching film, ‘Who do you think their best receiver is?’ And they all said, ‘Number 11 (Grant).’ So definitely someone we’ve noticed on film and something they’ve noticed on film, and they obviously try to get the ball in his hands.”

This is the first ever meeting between the teams. They have different recent postseason histories: Wabash has won three postseason games since 1997. Pioneer won four postseason games last year.

(Winner plays Lewis Cass-Delphi winner in the semifinals on Oct. 29.)

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