LAKVILLE – Pioneer, coming off its first-ever HNAC league loss to Winamac a week a go, controlled time possession and more than doubled LaVille offensive plays to pick up a 12-7 victory over LaVille. It was the first loss of the season for the Lancers.
“We ran a total of 33 offensive plays for the entire game – Pioneer ran 68 offensive plays,” explained Hostrawser. “They converted numerous 3rd downs and a few 4th down plays to sustain drives – they did not beat themselves.
“Pioneer also ran for approximately 120 yards after first contact – we did not tackle well,” continued Hostrawser. “We will look to improve that this coming week.”
LaVille used the big play to strike first as Lancer quarterback Lucas Plummer tossed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Owen Smith.
“Plummer’s pass to Smith was a big play,” said Hostrawser. “I thought the O-line did a nice job giving Lucas time and he threw a strike.”
Following Plummer’s TD toss to Smith, Pioneer answered with a long drive of its own, but was stopped on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line when Robinson was stopped just short on a QB sneak attempt. LaVille took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
“It was nice to see the defense dig in their heels at the goal line for that stand,” said Hostrawser. “Anytime you can hold a team scoreless in a half, it’s a good thing.”
In the end a couple key factors played a huge role as Pioneer picked up its first victory of the season.
The Panthers controlled the ball for over 37 minutes of the game clock and the Pioneer offense used the athletic skills of Brock Robinson to rush the ball 40 times for 176 yards.
“Our lack of conditioning showed up in the second half – I felt they were in better shape than us,” explained Hostrawser. “While it’s not an excuse, the reality is we had one day of practice last week with our first unit – Thursday was a crash course for us to get ready. Things we normally rep for 3+ days we had only one day to rep them. That made a difference in the speed of our play Friday night.”
The Panthers did get some players back from injuries and protocols from a week ago Friday night and proceeded to grind out their first HNAC of the season and eighth victory all-time against LaVille. Robinson returned from his ankle injury that kept him off the field for the first two games. Coach Adam Berry inserted Robinson at quarterback and ran the shotgun wing-T. Robinson would ultimately score the game-winning touchdown from 2 yards out with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter.
“He’s our best playmaker on the team right now. He was very successful at fullback last year obviously being a 1,000-yard rusher,” Berry said after the game during an interview in the pressbox. “I think we had close to 17 fumbled snaps the first two weeks. We’ve only been with our fourth quarterback in three weeks. We were like, we need to get the ball in our playmaker’s hands. We still ran the same plays with him than we would have if he was still in that true fullback position. We still ran down, we still ran trap, we still ran fullback outside. Just getting the ball in his hands right away, all 11 guys on defense have to be watching him.”
With Robinson playing quarterback, Logan Smith moved to fullback. Smith rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries. Cayden Hill returned from his rib injury and played wingback. He was limited by his injury but ran the ball five times for 20 yards. Rylahn Toloza started at the other wingback spot and rushed for 40 yards on six carries. His 3-yard TD run brought the Panthers to within 7-6 with 10:11 left in the game. Both of the Panthers’ 2-point tries finished just short of the goal line.
LaVille (2-1, 1-1 HNAC) was led by Paul DeWitt’s 68 rushing yards on 14 carries. Plummer was 5-of-9 through the air for 108 yards and one TD.
One of the plays of the game was when the Panthers were trailing 7-6, on fourth-and-5 from the Pioneer 46, Robinson hit Derrick LeGrand with a pass for a first down with LeGrand’s knee on the ground when he caught the ball. Robinson would later score on a 2-yard run.
“Just like we drew it up,” Berry said after the game. “We told him to fall down, go up to your knees and catch the ball. Just like we draw it up in practice.
The Lancers drove into Pioneer (1-2, 1-1 HNAC) territory but the Panthers came up with a stop on a fourth-down pass play to get the ball back. They were able to run out the rest of the clock.
The Lancers will conclude a three-game homestand against Winamac on September 10. Kick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Lancer Field.
PIONEER 12, LAVILLE 7
Pioneer 0 0 0 12
LaVille 0 7 7 7
LV – Owen Smith 54 pass from Lucas Plummer; Plummer kick
P – Rhylan Toloza 3 run; run failed
P – Brock Robinson 2 eun; run failed
Yards Rushing 270 96
Yards Passing 12 108
Comp-Att-Int 1-2-0 5-9-0
First Downs 17 7
Fumbles 3-0 1-0
Penalties 2-10 5-30
Punts-Avg 1-27 3-28