The thought coming into Friday’s city rivalry match between Pioneer and Huron was whether the River Rats could slow down the Pioneer’s high-octane offense. The answer came early in the game.
Conor Easthope and the Pioneers’ offense came into Friday’s game having scored 64 points in their previous two games. They scored 14 points in the opening quarter against the host River Rats and never looked back in a comfortable 47-14 win.
Pioneer improved to 4-2 on the season and have won three straight heading into Friday’s SEC showdown with Bedford. The Kicking Mules lost Friday night to Saline 24-21 in a huge divisional showdown.
Huron falls to 1-5 and have dropped five straight since opening the season with a victory over Ecorse. The River Rats face Monroe next Friday.
Despite the lopsided score, there was a moment when it looked like this could become a game. But it was only a moment. Down 21-0, the River Rats got on the scoreboard to make it 21-7 and then recovered a Pioneer fumble.
The River Rats would go three and out and Pioneer would quickly put more points on the board to widen the lead.
The Pioneers scored on their first drive of the evening. Ali Fisher, who had a huge night for the Pioneers, ran a route down the sideline, got behind the defender and quarterback Conor Easthope dropped a pass in his lap on a 45-yard TD pass. The score came with Pioneer facing a third-and-eight.
Tierney Fraidenburg kicked the extra point and Pioneer led 7-0 with 9:02 left in the opening quarter.
Pioneer started driving again but the River Rats stopped them, forcing a field-goal attempt. But Huron was called for off-sides, moving the ball from the 6-yard line to the 3-yard line and Pioneer decided to go for it instead of kicking. Kenny Atkins, who also had a big night, scored on a running play. Fraidenburg again nailed the extra point to make it 14-0 with 44.9 seconds left in the first quarter.
The River Rats fumbled on the final play of the first quarter and Pioneer’s Luke Rogers recovered the ball at the Huron 31-yard line.
Easthope hit Fisher on a 29-yard pass play, and one player later, Atkins ran it into the end zone from the 2-yard line for the visitors third score of the night. Fraidenburg kicked the point after and Pioneer led 21-0 with 10:38 left in the first half.
The River Rats got in the board – and back in the game – when quarterback Tyson Edmondson threw a 26-yard TD pass to Devion Traylor who outjumped the Pioneer defender in the end zone for the score. A big run by Edmondson earlier in the drive helped set up the score. Adam Samaha kicked the extra point to cut the deficit to 21-7 with 8:22 left in the half.
Pioneer started moving the ball again but a fumble recovered by Huron’s Kingsley Perkins gave the ball back to the River Rats. But the Pioneer defense forced a punt and the offense went right down and scored.
Atkins ran 13 yards for the TD for a 28-7 lead (after Fraidenburg’s fourth extra point) with 3:50 left in the first half.
The Pioneers were not done. After a big pass from Easthope to Fisher, Easthope hit Rasheed Sampson on a 5-yard TD pass with just 9.9 seconds left to give Pioneer a 34-7 halftime lead.
The River Rats scored their second TD of the game after three straight successful pass plays. Edmondson hit Traylor to move the ball to the 42-yard line. The junior QB then tossed a pass to Tyree Hill who took the ball to the 16-yard line. Then Edmondson hit Jaylin Priester for the TD to cut the lead to 34-14 with 6:09 left in the third quarter. Samaha kicked the extra point for Huron.
But Pioneer answered on the kickoff when Mathew Wadington went 80 yards right up the middle – with a huge burst of speed around the 50-yard line – to make it 41-14.
Easthope hit Geffen Peterson-Sand on a 31-yard TD pass with 10:08 left in the game to make it 47-14. Easthope had four TD passes in the win.
Other Local Scores
U-D Jesuit 42, Father Gabriel Richard 0
Monroe 35, Skyline 14
Dexter 54, Tecumseh 19
Chelsea 30, Ypsilanti 6
Saline 24, Bedford 21
Pinckney 49, Adrian 0