Football: Huron blanks rival Pioneer in bittersweet victory

Typically, shutting out your crosstown rival, 34-0, for the first time since 2002 wouldn’t be dubbed “bittersweet.”

But that’s exactly the type of day it was for the Ann Arbor Huron football program. Before kickoff against visiting Pioneer, a moment of silence was held after it was announced that a senior at Huron had passed away.

Huron head coach Antaiwn Mack indicated that the student was a member of the football program.

“It’s been a tough day today. We had some things going in within our family today with the loss of a brother,” Mack said. “The kids really wanted to come out and play hard.”

Mack wished to not provide further details on the situation.

Mack said the team also wanted to bounce back after its loss at Saline last week.

“The kids felt after reading the articles last week that they were discredited and wanted to come out tonight and have an impressive showing.”

It was indeed an expressive showing. The Rats amassed 332 yards of total offensive and used two different quarterbacks, Anthony Pinnace and Dyson Sims, keeping the Pioneer defense off-balance.

Leading 3-0 late in the first quarter, Sims was inserted at quarterback and promptly connected with Pinnace, who was also utilized at receiver, for a gain of 32 yards into the Pioneer red zone. Two plays later, Sims found Davis Hugan for an 18-yard touchdown pass to extend Huron’s lead to 10-0 in the quarter’s final minute.

Pioneer had a golden opportunity to cut into the River Rat lead after two drive-extending penalties and a 22-yard fourth-down scramble from quarterback Grant Nelson gave the Pioneers a goal-to-go at Huron’s 8-yard line. Two negative running plays and a sack later, the Pioneers faced fourth-and-goal from the Huron 25 and a pass fell incomplete on a fake field goal attempt, ending the drive.

The next play from scrimmage, Pinnace returned at quarterback and lofted a perfect pass over a defender, hitting senior Brandon Johnson in-stride for a 75-yard touchdown, giving the Rats a 17-0 lead with 4:12 remaining in the first half.

Huron’s defense was equally impressive, and got into the score column when Torrence Greene intercepted a Nelson pass and returned it for a touchdown with 33 seconds remaining in the half, pushing the Rat lead to 24-0. Huron held Pioneer under 50 yards of offense in the first half.

Pinnace all but sealed Huron’s victory on the next drive, engineering a six play, 93-yard drive. After beginning the drive with a 67-yard pass, Pinnace rolled left, escaped a sack and scrambled right for an 11-yard touchdown, increasing Huron’s lead to 31.

Kicker Adam Samaha was impressive for the Rats, draining two field goals from 37 and 35 yards respectively, converting all extra points, and finding the end zone on all but one kickoff.

Huron (2-1, 1-1 SEC Red) returns to action next Friday when it travels to Temperance Bedford (3-0, 2-0 SEC Red) to take on the undefeated Kicking Mules. Pioneer (0-3, 0-2 SEC Red) hosts Ann Arbor Skyline (0-3, 0-2 SEC Red) on Friday.