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  • Val T.

Week 10 preview: Pioneer seeks to avoid turnovers in Judson rematch

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Pioneer (5-4) at North Judson (5-4), 7:30 p.m. Eastern

(Winner plays Bowman Academy-South Newton winner in Class 1A, Sectional 41 semifinals)

Pioneer had 209 yards rushing and averaged 6.3 yards per carry against North Judson at home in their regular season finale last week.

That included freshman quarterback Shiloh Rine’s broken-field, 49-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter and another 112 yards and a touchdown from senior fullback Rylahn Toloza.

However, Pioneer also committed four turnovers – two fumbles and two interceptions – and lost 33-12.

“Really, our first interception, we missed our first read, and then really, the North Judson player, when he picked it off, just cut in front of our guy to make a good play,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “Our second interception I thought was forced a little bit. So really just having quarterbacks have better decision making and not be afraid to just throw the ball away.

“The fumbles, a couple of them, that we didn’t lose, we simply just dropped. And when we lost (a fumble), the guy made a good play. … It’s just one of those things where we can’t have that happen, especially at this stage of the season. But really, turnovers have been a problem all season for us.”

Defensively, Berry said the issue was stopping North Judson ball carriers, specifically halfback Kole Wilcox and fullback Brock Benson, on first contact, though Berry acknowledged it’s “easier said than done.”

Pioneer gets a rematch with North Judson this week in a Class 1A, Sectional 41 quarterfinal at Liberty Field.

“I thought our film session Saturday and Monday was really ghood,” Berry said. “It’s not like they’re totally defeated thinking why even show up. They still have confidence that if we play our game and if we take care of the ball, we’re going to be in any game. Really, so far, I thought our focus has been extremely good. They’re excited for the rematch.”

Pioneer is 2-0 all-time against North Judson in sectional games, having beaten them in the 2015 and 2016 sectional finals. North Judson is the two-time defending regional champion.

If Pioneer wins, they will host either Bowman Academy or South Newton in the sectional semifinals.


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