Week 4 preview: Pioneer seeks to continue history of success vs. Caston
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Pioneer (2-1, 1-1 Hoosier North) at Caston (0-3, 0-2), 7 p.m.
Pioneer ran for 205 yards against Class 2A, No. 3 LaVille last week, but they had to settle for a 29-13 loss after not taking advantage of opportunities to score, according to coach Adam Berry.
“Really overall, I felt like we had our chances,” Berry said. “The definitely turning point was them scoring their touchdown to go ahead at the end of the first half. That really have huge momentum to them, but backing up a little bit, our first two offensive drives, we had a nine-play drive, and we fumbled inside the end zone, and then our second drive, we had a 14-play drive where we got down to the 7-yard line, and we got a seven-yard loss on a play and ended up not scoring on that possession either. Having two long drives on offense and having zero points, I thought, was also a killer for us in the first half.”
Berry also cited a running-into-the-kicker penalty which gave LaVille kicker Lucas Plummer a second opportunity to make a field goal of which he took advantage was also crucial.
Caston appeared to also have regrets with how they played early in a 30-14 loss to Triton last week. The Comets fell behind 24-0 after one quarter but got a touchdown pass from Grant Yadon to Gavin Mollenkopf and a touchdown run from Jabez Yarber.
Yarber averaged five yards per carry against Triton.
“We played a whole lot better,” Caston coach Chris Ulerick said of the last three quarters against Triton. “We actually played real football, and we did things that we needed to do. We were able to execute some offensively, and defensively, I thought we buckled down, but we dug ourselves in way too much of a hole at the start of that game. I’m not really sure what happened there.”
Caston will try and snap a 17-game losing streak overall and a 31-game losing streak against Pioneer, which included a 50-14 loss in Royal Center last year. Pioneer has not lost to Caston since 1996.
“They’re running down option,” Ulerick said of Pioneer’s offense. “I don’t know if it’s a read thing. That’s a really hard read thing if in fact they really are reading it. Good job to number two (Micah Rans). But they do get outside, and they get outside with some authority. They keep gapping you with that fullback (Rylahn Toloza) off tackle, and then before you know it, the quarterback is going around the edge and able to make some plays with speed and run away from people. They have hung their hat on that … and that’s what we’ve seen a lot of.”
Berry said he has seen Caston’s defense in both odd-man and even-man fronts. Regardless of the front, Berry said linebackers Kyle Roudebush and Grant Yadon are key figures.
“With their defense, the first thing that comes to mind is number 19,” Berry said, referring to Roudebush. “Every time it seems like there’s a big play on defense, he’s involved with it. Whether it’s him being on the front side of the play or running from the back side from his middle linebacker spot, he’s definitely caught our eye watching film. He flies to the ball, and he just makes things happen. Their other inside linebacker (Yadon) does a great job scraping and filling the holes as well. Their defense definitely, in my opinion, starts with those inside guys, and they rely heavily on those guys to make plays for them.”