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  • Val T.

Week 4 preview: Caston seeks first win over Pioneer since 1996

Panthers wary of Comets’ growing offensive balance


Sports Editor, RTC

Caston (0-3, 0-2 Hoosier North) at Pioneer (1-2, 1-1), 7 p.m.

The Caston run defense could not contain Triton’s ground attack last week in a 46-6 loss. Triton fullback Anthony Schuh ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

“We didn’t want any part of tackling him,” Caston coach Chris Ulerick said.

That could be an issue this week as the Comets get set to take on Pioneer, whose fullback Rylahn Toloza has run for over 270 yards and five touchdowns the last two games.

Pioneer coach Adam Berry said the goal going into last week’s game against LaVille was to get four yards per carry, and they did exactly that – 176 yards on 44 carries – but they still lost 47-8.

“We had the ball for quite a bit,” Berry said. “We just could not convert when we needed to.”

Ulerick complimented Pioneer’s wing-T offense.

“They’re going to line up, and they’re going to do the same thing,” Ulerick said. “You know what you’re going to get out of them. They went back to more of a traditional wing-T set, and they’re going to get the tight end in their backfield with the fullback and the halfback and the wing, and they’re going to run their base plays, and they’re going to run them well, and you still see those little things that need to be happening. They aren’t quite as explosive, but I think they’re still a very complete unit. Their quarterback (Caleb Sweet) is very good and a very good decision-maker.”

Pioneer will also be looking to improve their run defense. LaVille had 190 yards rushing in a 47-8 win at the Pit last week.

“After the first couple drives, I thought we contained them pretty well in the run game, and going back and watching the film, our guys were in the right spots a lot of the time, (but) we just simply didn’t make the tackle. But credit that to LaVille.

Meanwhile, Caston has fewer than 100 yards rushing in three games combined on offense.

Still, Ulerick said Caston’s offensive execution was better against Triton, and he said there were “glimmers of how good we could be.”

He said that Caston is better right now at the passing game, which relies on three-step drops from senior quarterback Landon Shaffer, than the running game.

“Caston’s always been known for being under center and trying to run the ball the majority of the time, but they’re looking to spread it out a lot more and try to keep the defense honest with their balanced attack,” Berry said. “I know they’re excited about their young guys coming up, and you know what, they’re starting to get their numbers up.”

Caston has not beaten Pioneer since 1996, and Caston has not beaten Pioneer at The Pit since 1993. Caston has not won a conference road game since a 20-0 win over West Central in 2016.

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