The last time the Pioneer football team won its first game of the season was in 2015 – the last time the Pioneers reached the state playoffs. With only nine games on the schedule, winning that first game not only sticks a game in the win column but it also creates confidence and builds belief.
Last year’s 16-13 season-opening loss to Anchor Bay wasn’t a deal breaker for the Pioneers. They responded by winning their next three before losing their next four, allowing 160 points in those four games.
Still, getting off to a good start is crucial for Pioneer if the team is to extend the schedule into the postseason. It starts again with Anchor Bay, but this time in New Baltimore. After Saint Johns in week two, a strong Chelsea team awaits in week three before they open league play against Monroe.
Pioneer finished 4-5 last season.
“We need to come together as a FAMILY,” says Pioneer Coach William Bellers. “And deriving our joy from the success of the man/woman next to us.”
The Pioneers return with a strong line on both sides of the ball and talented and experienced Connor Easthope at quarterback. If the skill-position players produce, the Pioneers could put up a lot of points and take some pressure off the defense.
Top returning players include junior QB Easthope along with seniors Jordan Garrett (DL), Chris Holmes (DL/TE), Simon Hoffman (OL), Owen Aldridge (LB) and Geffen Peterson-Sand (Safety/WR). Junior OL Hunter Daugherty and junior RB Luke Rogers also return.
New to the team this year are juniors Ali Fisher (WR/Corner), John Lang (Safety) and Joe Daily (WR/Corner).
The Pioneers open the season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Anchor Bay.