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  • Val T.

Week 3: Pioneer’s ‘full effort’ led to Winamac shutout, but can they stop LaVille in final meeting?

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Pioneer (2-0, 1-0 Hoosier North) at LaVille (2-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.

Last week’s 38-0 win at Winamac means that Pioneer already has as many wins this season as they did all of last season.

Defensively, they improved from allowing 239 rushing yards in Week 1 to Lewis Cass to allowing 49 rushing yards in Week 2 to Winamac.

“Just the full effort,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said of the defense. “I thought our d-line, it started with them. They were causing the offense to take care of them, which was allowing our outside linebackers to run free down the line. Our two outside linebackers led the team in tackles. I think they both had 10, but once again, that was due to the defensive line doing their job to free those guys up. And then when Winamac did go back to drop back to pass, I thought our pass rush was excellent starting with Noah Van Meter.

Offensively, Rylahn Toloza ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Micah Rans ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, Pioneer had 359 yards on the ground.

Rans and Van Meter are part of a sophomore class that also includes players like Eli Guffey, Tyler Schnurpel, Juan Solano and Liam Rouch. That group is used to being successful, and those players saw varsity action as freshmen.

“For one, they’ve always been pretty successful, whether it was youth league or middle school,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “Always had quite a bit of success. So they’ve been playing together for a long time, and you know, we had a lot of them playing on Friday nights last year. And they took some bumps and bruises and made some mistakes, but I think having that level of competition at varsity speed last year definitely carried over to this year.

“They understood the speed of the game. They understood that it was obviously a lot different from middle school and even JV. But physically, they have matured a lot, and so far this season, they are doing a great job.”

Pioneer will look to extend their winning streak against a LaVille team that they will be playing for the final time. LaVille will be leaving the Hoosier North for a new conference that is expected to be called the Northern State Conference in 2024.

LaVille is 2-0 under new coach Jeff Kaiser, holding Bremen and Triton to 26 points total in two games. Berry commended LaVille’s defense, saying that the same compliments that he had for their defense – and particularly their inside linebackers – that he had in previous years remain true today.

LaVille has won their last two meetings against Pioneer by a combined score of 88-8.

“It’s been nice, two football communities,” Berry said of the rivalry. “Since 2015, it’s always a great atmosphere whether it’s a home game or an away game. They usually have a youth night or something there to bring a lot of fans. It’s always a great atmosphere up there. Conference-wise, this is the last time we are facing LaVille. I don’t think we have them on our nonconference (schedule), so unless something like that changes over the course of the years or if somehow we get to the same class, this is definitely the last scheduled game up to this point.”


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