By Ben Murphy
The Clare defense stepped up big. The Pioneer offense clicked. For the first time in the 2013 season Kelly Luplow’s squad came out on the winning side, topping host Beaverton 28-14 in Jack Pine Conference play.
The Pioneers, who are coming off six straight JPC championships scored the first two touchdowns of the night to lead 12-0.
The first score came on a quarterback keeper by Colton Punches from one yard out, with Punches hitting Charlie Bugbee for a nineteen yard strike for the second. Clare missed both extra points.
The Beavers got on the scoreboard to make it 12-6 though Clare’s Jordan Gross dove in from one yard out to put Clare on the board again. Punches also found Kyler Zinser on the two-point attempt to give the Pioneers a 20-6 lead at the half.
Both teams scored a touchdown and two point conversion in the fourth quarter, with the Pioneers getting an 11-yard run from Punches, with Gross running in the two-pointer.
Gross finished with 159 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries, Logan Emery ran eight times for 63 yards and Chris Dysinger had four runs for 42 yards.
Punches went six-of-15 passing for 107 yards, one touchdown and one interception and also added two rushing touchdowns.
Bugbee had two catches for 51 yards and one touchdown and Joe Huston had two grabs for 37 yards.
Zinser led the Pioneer defense with 12 tackles, Joe McGuire had 11, Emery had eight with Nick Montini and Tyler Gillespie both adding six.
Huston, Punches and Ryan Seiter all had interceptions and Josh Langlois had a sack.
Clare (1-2 overall, 1-0 JPC) hosts Houghton Lake (0-3, 0-1) tonight. The Bobcats are coming off a 28-0 loss to Gladwin last week in their JPC opener. Clare topped H-L 43-0 last season and last lost to the Bobcats in 2005.