BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Pioneer (4-1, 1-0 Hoosier North) at Triton (3-1, 2-0), 7 p.m.
While Class 2A, No. 4 Pioneer beat Indianapolis Attucks 48-12 last week, it wasn’t always easy.
Coach Adam Berry said his team got off to a “slow start.” Defensively, they were getting people to the ball, but they missed tackles.
In the second quarter, they scored 22 unanswered points to build a 30-6 halftime lead.
Brock Robinson had 180 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries. Ezra Lewellen returned after missing the Caston game due to an ankle injury to run for 115 yards on just six carries, including a 69-yard touchdown.
“We settled down very nicely,” Berry said. “Brock Robinson, he hit a guard trap up the middle for a long touchdown, and I would say that was the turning point of the game. And the guys up top did a nice job telling me that the defense wasn’t adjusting to what we were doing, so we ran Brock quite a bit up the middle. Give credit to our line. That was a play that we’ve really been working on in practice because we weren’t executing it in previous weeks, and they were running it really well with our guard trap, so that was really good to see.”
Berry also complimented offensive linemen Tyler Gaumer, Mason Schnurpel and Michael DePoy for their play.
As for Pioneer’s defense, their challenge this week is to stop Triton’s wing-T offense. In a way, Pioneer and Triton mirror each other in that both run a wing-T and both have a freshman quarterback.
Pioneer lines up Cayden Hill under center while Triton has ninth-grader Cole Shively.
Triton had 291 yards rushing in a 48-8 win over Culver last week.
“You know that they definitely produce athletes there,” Berry said. “It doesn’t matter what the sport is. And so their backs block extremely well, and they run extremely well. Luckily, it’s an offense that we’re familiar with with the wing-T, so we’re hoping that’s to our advantage.”
Meanwhile, Triton’s defense held Culver’s physical power-T formation offense to just eight points.
“The first thing that you notice is just how hard they play,” Berry said. “They get 11 hats to the ball. They’re pretty disciplined in who they are reading. I believe this is their first year with the wing-T, but they’re going to be pretty familiar with our offense being five weeks into the season. Our line and our blocking backs are going to have to be disciplined in staying on their blocks.”
Pioneer is 5-0 against Triton since becoming conference rivals in 2015. Each win was by at least 43 points.
The Panthers beat Triton 60-0 last year.
Berry reported no injuries, but a couple of players are in quarantine due to “contact.”
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