ROYAL CENTER — After a disappointing loss last week to New Haven, the Pioneer Panthers felt they had things they wanted to clear up and things they wanted to improve on during last night’s game against the Caston Comets.
Unfortunately for the Comets, they met up with a Pioneer team after a loss, and the Pioneer team that felt they had something to prove. Mix all that together and you have a lopsided Pioneer win as the Panthers dismantled the Comets by a 52-6 score.
“Our goal coming into the game tonight was to show everybody that after the last two weeks we weren’t going to have a letdown. We played some really good football during that time and we wanted to do that again tonight by not having a letdown. And I think we did that,” said Panther Wyatt Zeider.
The past two weeks have seen the Panthers throw down a challenge against schools with a much larger student body. Regardless, the Panthers went toe-to-toe against them and smashed them in the mouth. Caston had that same mentality entering Friday’s ballgame against the highly ranked Panthers. After making the short trip down state road 16 the Comets went toe to toe against the powerful Panthers.
It looked like Caston was going to make a game of it early on but Pioneer approved to have too many weapons. Pioneer took the opening kickoff and put together an eight play drive that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown run by Brock Robinson at the 9:43 mark of the opening quarter. The conversion run by Wyatt Marshall was good and the Panthers took a quick 8-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff Caston’s Damian Sullivan took the ball near the 20-yard line and headed up the middle of the field. Once he cut it outside he found open field and was gone making it an 8-6 ball game at the 9:26 mark. The point after was wide left has the store stood at 8-6 before the Panthers went to work again.
Pioneer went on to score two more times in the quarter, first a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cayden Hill and then a Hill to Brock Smith two yard touchdown pass at the 2:29 mark. Pioneer went for the conversion on both scores and at the end of one complete Pioneer found themselves up by a 24-6 score.
On their first drive of the second quarter the Panthers started their drive in good field position as it took just six plays for Logan Smith to punch it in from two yards out with 7:22 remaining in the second quarter. The conversion failed and Pioneer was looking at a 30-6 lead.
Just before the half Caston was moving the ball and threatening to score. A Grant Hickle to Jessie Rock-Wolf pass deep into the end zone just before the halftime horn sounded was ruled out of bounds and Caston entered the halftime break trailing 30-6.
After the homecoming celebration concluded at halftime the Panthers quickly went to work again. It was Robinson stepping up again when he broke free from 60 yards out taking it to the house at the 8:43 mark. The Hill to Zeider conversion pass made it a 38-6 game.
Following a Caston punt Wyatt Marshall took it in from 30 yards out on first down with 6:26 remaining to increase the Pioneer score. Another Hill to Zeider conversion pass made it a 46-6 game at the end of three quarters of play.
The Panthers’ final score of the evening came in the fourth quarter with 10:03 left to play. Peyton Schnurpel scored from 4 yards out to make it a 52-6 game. The conversion failed and the score would prove to be the final.
“We told the boys at halftime that we have to run our base schemes better I guess than anyone we play,” said Comets coach Will Porter. “We had flashes tonight where we did some good things and were able to move the ball against Pioneer. However, we have to be more consistent in doing so if we want to be successful.”
Said Panther coach Adam Berry: “Coming into tonight’s game the one thing we want to make sure we did was play hard. And we also wanted to clean some things up. Last week we weren’t as crisp and we weren’t as clean as what we were in Week 2 and tonight we just wanted to clean things up and play a better football game and at times I think we did that. Obviously we made some mistakes tonight and that’s going to happen, nobody’s ever played a perfect football game but we told the kids if you play hard we can correct the mistakes and and we just wanted to do that. Tonight, we also saw kids in different places and we saw kids playing a lot because we sat some kids to rest some nagging injuries.”
Among those setting with nagging injuries were brothers Ezra and Addai Lewellen.
It was homecoming at Pioneer and at halftime the king and queen were announced. This year’s homecoming king is Wyatt Zeider and homecoming queen is Olivia Brooke.