Week 3 preview: Frosh Nicoll to start at QB for Pioneer against Winamac
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Pioneer (0-1, 0-0 Hoosier North) at Winamac (1-0, 1-0), 8 p.m.
Pioneer has won 42 consecutive Hoosier North games since the conference began play in 2015, and they have also won the last six meetings against Winamac.
If the streak continues this week, they will have to do so with a backup quarterback after sophomore starter Cayden Hill suffered a rib injury in a 28-0 loss to Indianapolis Scecina last week. Freshman Eli Nicoll will start in his place.
Pioneer will also be without senior fullback-defensive back Brock Robinson, who will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury.
Pioneer committed seven turnovers against Scecina, but coach Adam Berry praised his team’s defense, saying it did a “heck of a job”. Scecina had 28 points despite the turnovers frequently granting them excellent field position.
The greater challenge this week is stopping Winamac senior fullback Hayden Clark and senior quarterback Russell Compton, who combined for 263 yards rushing last week in a 35-14 win over Knox.
“He’s just a solid football player all the way around,” Berry said of Clark. “He has the power. He has the vision. He has the speed. So really, anything you’d want in a running back, he has. Obviously, we’re going to have to look to shut him down after he had as great Week 1.”
Berry also called Compton a “dual threat quarterback.”
Winamac coach John Hendryx said Knox ran a different offense during the game than they did in their scrimmage against Tippecanoe Valley the previous week, and that required some mid-game adjustments.
“Credit to our kids,” Hendryx said. “Once they did that, then they played pretty well. They gave up a couple big plays, but they couldn’t drive the ball very well. And so I thought our kids adjusted on the fly pretty well.”
Like Berry, Hendryx complimented Pioneer’s defense for its resoluteness given its bad field position.
“I thought they were pretty good,” Hendryx said. “They looked like a pretty typical Pioneer defense. They were fast. They were physical. Didn’t give up very many big plays. Scecina just had some unbelievable field position. That’s just hard to deal with.”