By Ben Murphy
Photo by Kim Langlois
The second bout with Roscommon went convincingly in favor of the Clare. The Pioneers (8-2), hosting Roscommon (6-4) in Friday night’s division five pre-district game used a strong running game to handily top the Bucks 33-0.
“I thought it might have been one of the best games we’ve had this year as far as executing on both offense and defense and mental preparation,” Clare head coach Kelly Luplow said. “I’m hoping for the same soft of thing this week.”
On the Pioneer’s second drive of the night, Zack Tyler scored on a 23 yard run to finish off a lengthy 92 yard drive with Logan Emery adding the extra point to make it 7-0 with 2:08 left in the first frame.
Jordan Gross scored twice on three yard runs in the second quarter, paving way to a 20-0 Pioneer lead at the half.
Clare built it’s three possession lead largely behind a strong running attack.
“We normally don’t run that much without throwing the ball now and then,” Luplow said. “Our offensive line was dominating the line of scrimmage so with the combination of them getting good push on the defense and our running backs running hard, we just kept pushing forward and didn’t really have to throw the ball.”
It was more of the same in the second half, with the Pioneer defense forcing punt after punt and the offense getting rushing touchdowns by Tyler of one yard in the third and a three yard score by Chris Dysinger in the fourth. Clare gave up just 207 yards of total offense to the Bucks while finishing with 384 yards of total offense and 346 on the ground to aid its winning cause.
“Our defensive performance was pretty much the way it’s been all season,” Luplow said. “We’ve had a lot of stops in our opponents red zone and that means a lot to our team. It was one of those games that as a coach you just really enjoy because of the way the kids prepared for the game. They did what they had to do to take care of business and it was nice to see. I was real proud of that.”
Gross finished with 169 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, Tyler ran for 78 yards on eight tries and also completed three-of-seven passes for 38 yards. James Simon added 49 yards on 10 carries and Spencer Harrell led the receiving game with two catches for 27 yards and Brock Swan had one catch for 11 yards.
Lee Cole led the Pioneer defense with nine tackles, Emery, Joe McGuire and Mitch Greenacre all head eight, Riley White and Brandon Ayris both had six with Harrell and Nick Montini both taking down five. Colton Punches added an interception.
Clare hosts Standish-Sterling (7-3) tonight. The Panthers topped Gladwin 49-29 last week in their pre-district contest.