high school football: Pioneer routs Huron, 50-7, to clinch SEC title and playoff berth
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
By Phil Lozen | for AnnArbor.com
Rivalry games tend to produce tightly contested, nerve-wracking games.
In the case of the Pioneer-Huron high school football rivalry, that’s especially true. In the past nine meetings, only two had been decided by more than 20 points. Just six had been decided by 30 points or more since 1970.
But look closer at those games, and you start to see that -- despite the competitive nature of many of the matchups -- the Pioneers have taken control of the cross-town battle decidedly in their favor.
On Friday night at Hollway Field, the Pioneers made it nine straight wins with a 50-7 win over Huron, the second largest margin of victory in the series' 42-year history.
To make things even sweeter, Pioneer was able to claim its first outright Southeastern Conference Red Division title since 2002 and assure itself a spot in the MHSAA playoffs.
And the Pioneers went to bed Friday night knowing they earned all those accomplishments against their most heated rival.
“It feels fantastic. It’s an exciting night. I’m just real happy,” Pioneer coach Paul Test said. “To win the SEC, I think that’s special. I think it really started for us when we beat the defending champs, Bedford (on Sept. 27), and then last week with the nail-biter over Monroe. We didn’t take this game lightly; I thought the kids stayed focused throughout the game.”With alumni from the 1984 and 1987 state championship teams in attendance, Pioneer never trailed in the game, outgaining Huron 472-153, only throwing four passes and completing just one.
The game turned in Pioneer’s favor during a 7-minute span of the first half. Holding a 14-7 lead, Pioneer got a pair of touchdowns runs from Aedan York and Drake Johnson and turned an interception into a safety. In a matter of minutes, the score was 30-7 and the rout was on.
“This feels good,” Pioneer’s Maurice Young said. “Winning the SEC was one of our goals as a team, and we got it done. And after the loss of Andy (Creal), our captain, we wanted to keep it going for him.”
Creal, the Pioneer quarterback who injured his knee in the second game of the season, made a brief return to the field during the second quarter Friday. He threw a deep incompletion on his only play of the game and returned to the sideline.
Test says he’ll likely have surgery next week, ending his season and career at Pioneer.
Johnson continued his magical season, running for 256 yards in the first half and topping 1,900 for the season. He scored three touchdowns and averaged 11 yards per carry.
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Huron’s lone points came on a 2-yard run by Parish Thomas.
“We’re disappointed in the way we played. I don’t think we played physically as well as we wanted to,” Huron coach Cory Gildersleeve said. “Some of that is on us, but some of it is on them. They’re a good team and they got a couple big plays on us.”
Pioneer (6-2, 5-0 SEC Red), which opened the season with a pair of losses, has now won its last six games and closes the regular season by hosting Livonia Franklin next week. The Pioneer coaching staff made sure to remind the players that their work wasn’t done and that next week’s game could determine if the Pioneers have to go on the road or get to host a first-round playoff game.
Huron (1-6, 0-5) hosts Flint Carman-Ainsworth to close its season.