Jack Kiser lived up to his billing and led #1 Pioneer to a 42-14 Class A semi-state victory over 4th ranked Monroe Central Friday night.
Kiser, just a junior, is being recruited by Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Iowa State.
Despite going 0-for-2 with an interception throwing the ball, Kiser’s 197 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns was enough to propel the Panthers to victory. Pioneer’s option offense produced 384 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns on the night.
A 49 yard TD run put the Panthers on the board first, but MC responded with a scroing drive that ended with Casey Conatser finding Wyatt Snyder on a 10-yard strike. Keegan Kane added the 2-point conversion and it was the first time all year Pioneer had been behind at 8-7.
After Pioneer went back up 14-8, the Bears had a drive stalled. There was just enough time for the Panthers to go up 21-8 before the half. Pioneer led 28-8 when a 59 yard pass from Conatser to Israel Nash went to the Panther four yard line where a diving player caught Nash from behind. A QB sack took the Bears back to the 20 and they were unable to get any points.
The Bears last score of the year came on a short run by Snyder after Pioneer had scored two more times including on a fumble that bounced forward 15 yards into the endzone and was recovered by the Panthers for six points.
Kiser told the Pharos-Tribune in Logansport that he thought the rainy and windy conditions played into the Panthers’ favor.
“They (Monroe Central) were a very physical team. I think the rain kind of helped us in the second half. It was hard to throw that ball, the ball was slick. They couldn’t run the ball when they’re down and that helps us a ton.”
Pioneer coach Adam Berry said he was a “little bit” surprised by the 42-14 final score.
He was quoted in the Pharos-Tribune – “I’m not surprised at all how the game started. We knew they were a quality program. We knew they were well coached and had some players and we knew it was going to a dogfight. We just got the big plays when we needed them. We were able to get to the edge, use our speed a little bit.”
Conatser was 9-for-20 in the game for 145 yards and a touchdown. He threw 2 interceptions on the night.
Snyder led the Bears in rushing with 59 yards, while Seth Wilson rushed for 15 yards.
Nash led the receivers with 59 yards to his credit, while Kamron Caldwell and Nick Mitchell each had 35 and Snyder recorded 17.