Drake Johnson provides scoring in defensively dominant Pioneer win
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The Pioneer High School football team defeated Livonia Franklin 20-0 at Hollway Field on Friday night, scoring on drives of one, one and three plays that took a combined one minute, 53 seconds off of the game clock.
Drake Johnson scored on touchdown runs of 58, 52 and 46 yards, all in the second half.
“Drake can take the ball to the house in a hurry,” said Pioneer coach Paul Test. “They’re a physical team, Franklin, so we had a hard time in the first half creating any consistency.”
Both teams put together long sustained drives in the first half, but both defenses tightened up once the other offense ventured across midfield. The game was scoreless at halftime.
Pioneer’s defense forced a three-and-out on Franklin’s opening drive of the third quarter and Johnson scored on a 58-yard scamper off left guard on Pioneer’s first play from scrimmage.
Johnson finished the game with 276 yards on 30 carries, and finishes the regular season with 2,182 rushing yards.
With Johnson providing the offensive fireworks, the defense took care of the rest. The Pioneers allowed Franklin just 198 yards of total offense. The closest Franklin got to a scoring drive was on a 40-yard run by Joe McRobb near the end of the third quarter.
McRobb appeared bound for the end zone, but Dewan Olive made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Pioneer 35-yard line. It was the closest Franklin would come to scoring all night.
“I was pretty much thinking I needed to catch him. If I didn’t, it was a touchdown and we needed a shutout,” said Olive, who led Pioneer with five tackles, including one for loss. Pioneer had eight tackles for loss on the night.
Neither team’s offense would venture inside the red zone. Johnson provided a pair of security touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a 52-yard run on the first play of a drive and a 46-yarder on the third play of a drive.
“Both defenses played very well, the difference in the game is they had number 2 (Johnson),” said Franklin coach Chrs Kelbert. “It was a hard fought game.”
After starting the season 0-2, Pioneer now enters the postseason on a seven-game winning streak
“Just knowing that we’re going forward, one of our best games going into the playoffs is a great feeling,” said Pioneer defensive lineman Aaron Noffke.
“I think we’re getting better every week defensively,” Test said.