Multiple Teams · Welcome to the Final 4: Who wants to play at Lucas Oil?


A long and winding road has led to Royal Center, Indiana where Friday night the lights will be shining their brightest yet as 4th ranked Monroe Central faces 1st ranked Pioneer in the Class A Final 4 – where the prize this week is a chance to play in the big town at Lucas Oil Stadium for all the marbles.

This is familiar territory for the Panthers and uncharted waters for the Golden Bears. But at this time of the year you throw out records, rankings and what’s on paper doesn’t matter too much either. It’s what takes place on the field Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m.

For Pioneer, Mr. Do-It-All is junior Jack Kiser, at 6-2, 206 pounds. At quarterback, Kiser has completed 62-of-95 pass attempts for 1082 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Running the Panther option offense Kiser has run the ball 155 times for 1560 yards and 31 touchdowns. Kiser keeps the defense guessing also as the punter, offering up that threat while averaging 25.2 yards per punt. He has also returned one punt for six points. On defense he is the second leading tackler with 86 tackles.

The rest of the option backfield consists of junior fullback Daniel Gregorich (5-9, 204 pounds) with 100 carries for 578 yards and 10 scores; freshman Ezra Lewellen (5-6, 142) 70 carries for 916 yards and 15 scores; and sophomore Austin Mersch (5-7, 150) with 66 carries for 621 yards and 8 TDs.  The Panthers have rushed for 4449 yards and 75 scores this fall.

Junior Calahan Kindley (5-10, 145) leads the receivers with 17 catches for 281 yards and 2 TDs. Lewellen has 10 catches for 139 yards and 3 TDs and senior Nate Johnson (5-10, 151) has 9 receptions for 254 yards and 4 scores.

Pioneer has fumbled 15 times and lost 14 of them, while throwing 1 interception.

On defense, senior Jayson Mersch (5-9, 175) leads the Panthers with 94 tackles, including 19.5 for loss and 8 sacks. Sophomore Miles Vontobel (5-11, 165) has 71 tackles and Gregorich has 7 sacks.

Pioneer has kicked 46 of 59 PAT’s and 3 of 4 field goals have been successful. The Panthers have converted 14 2-point conversions. The defense has 18 interceptions, blocked two punts and recovered 13 fumbles.

MC senior QB Casey Conatser has completed 122-of-208 pass attempts for 2511 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He threw 4 TDs in last week’s regional victory, including the final play with 12.5 seconds left to lift the Bears to victory.

Senior Wyatt Snyder leads the MC rushing attack with 105 carries with 934 yards and 16 scores; junior Seth Wilson has 106 carries for 794 yards and 7 TDs; senior Keegan Kane has 44 carries for 389 yards and 4 scores; junior Kamron Caldwell 26 carries for 262 yards and 5 scores; and Israel Nash 25 carries for 240 yards and 4 TDs.

Making “The Catch” last week and leading the Bears in receiving is senior Nick Mitchell with 32 catches for 694 yards and 9 TDs. Nash has 21 catches for 522 yards and 4 scores; Snyder 25 catches for 372 yards for 4 scores; Wilson 20 catches for 343 yards and 6 TDs; and Caldwell 18 receptions for 484 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Wilson leads the Bears with 112 tackles, while junior Kaden Conklin has 103 tackles with 10.5 for loss, and junior Taft Manship has 97 tackles. Senior Kobe Brown leads with 4.5 sacks while with 3 each are sophomores Logan Swallow and Sam Feola. Nash has 4 interceptions while junior Matt Poole has 3 and Manship has 4 fumbles recoveries.

The Bears have created 36 turnovers on the year and are at a +23 on the turnover battle. The Panthers are at a +16.

Pioneer (17-18)

National IN Class
2,124 36 1
Overall Conference Home Away Neutral Win % Conference % PF PA
13-0 7-0 5-0 4-0 4-0 1.000 1.000 638 63

Monroe Central (17-18)

National IN Class
3,890 68 2
Overall Conference Home Away Neutral Win % Conference % PF PA
12-1 2-1 5-0 3-1 4-0 .923 .667 514 127

Team Leaders

Pioneer Monroe Central National Avg.
#4 Jack Kiser   120.0 Rushing Yards Per Game #2 Wyatt Snyder   71.8 21.2
#4 Jack Kiser   83.2 Passing Yards Per Game #12 Casey Conatser   193.2 44.7
#4 Jack Kiser   203.2 Total Yards Per Game #12 Casey Conatser   190.8 36.5
#75 Jayson Mersch   7.2 Tackles Per Game #5 Seth Wilson 9.3 2.9
#75 Jayson Mersch   0.6 Sacks Per Game #55 D’Andre Mangas   0.5 0.2
#4 Jack Kiser   15.2 Points Per Game #2 Wyatt Snyder   12.2 2.4

 

Monroe Central (12-1) at Pioneer (13-0)
GAME TIME: 7:30 pm ET, The Pit.
COACHES: John Hochstetler, 46-23 in 6th year at Monroe Central, 133-106 in 21st year overall. Adam Berry, 27-1 in 2nd year at Pioneer.
SAGARIN RATINGS: Pioneer, 74.61, 44th overall, 1st in Class 1A. Monroe Central, 58.45, 101st overall, 5th in Class 1A.
LAST OUTING: Monroe Central defeated Southwood, 28-21. Pioneer defeated LaVille, 38-0.
OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: Monroe Central 63-77, Pioneer 70-75.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: No meetings.
PIONEER
PANTHERS
Coach: Adam Berry, 27-1 in 2nd year at school

 

DATE OPPONENT EASTERN TIME OA 49.1, DA 4.8
Aug. 18 Lewis Cass {2A}   (7-5)  W 30-  0   
Aug. 25 at Winamac {1A}‡   (4-7)  W 61-  0   
Sep. 1 at LaVille {1A}‡   (8-5)  W 41-  0   
Sep. 8 at Caston {1A}‡   (1-9)  W 52-  0   
Sep. 15 North White {1A}   (2-8)  W 80-  0   
Sep. 21 Triton {1A}‡   (8-4)  W 62-  8   
Sep. 29 Knox {3A}‡   (6-5)  W 28-  7   
Oct. 6 at Culver {1A}‡    (3-7)  W 55-  7   
Oct. 13 North Judson {1A}‡   (3-7)  W 42-  0   
Oct. 20 at Carroll (Flora) {1A}    (8-2)  W 55-21  sectional
Oct. 27 North White {1A}    (2-8)  W 46-  0  sectional
Nov. 3 Lafayette Central Catholic {1A}   (4-8)  W 48-20  sectional
Nov. 10 LaVille {1A}    (8-5)  W 38-  0  regional 
Nov. 17 Monroe Central {1A}    (12-1) 7:30 pm  semistate 

 

MONROE CENTRAL
GOLDEN BEARS
Coach: John Hochstetler, 46-23 in 6th year at school, 133-106 in 21st year overall
DATE OPPONENT EASTERN TIME OA 39.5, DA 9.8
Aug. 18 Cambridge City Lincoln {1A}  (1-9)  W 52-  0   
Aug. 25 Union County {2A}  (5-5)  W 30-12   
Sep. 1 at North Decatur {1A}  (5-5)  W 24-  0   
Sep. 8 Union City {1A}   (3-7)  W 50-  0   
Sep. 15 Tri-Central {1A}  (4-6)  W 56-  6   
Sep. 22 Wes-Del {1A}  (5-6)  W 29-  0   
Sep. 29 at Eastern Hancock {2A}  (6-5)  W 46-21   
Oct. 6 at Anderson Prep Academy {1A}   (0-10)  W 54-  0   
Oct. 13 at Shenandoah {2A}  (9-3)   L 20-42   
Oct. 20 Clinton Central {1A}  (0-10)  W 57-  6  sectional
Oct. 27 Clinton Prairie {1A}   (5-6)  W 42-12  sectional
Nov. 3 at Sheridan {1A}   (9-3)  W 26-  7  sectional
Nov. 10 Southwood {1A}   (11-2) 7:00 pm  regional 
Nov. 17 at Pioneer {1A}    (13-0)                                 7:30 pm  semistate