The Mercer/Butternut football team continued conference play with a road game at Winter/Birchwood last Saturday.
The Pioneers scored early and often, winning 38-22.
“The team played really well. (We) dealt with some adversity through the game, some fumbles, things that didn’t go entirely out way,” coach Matt Schoeneman said. “We had more plusses than minuses at the end as we got a victory.”
An early lead propelled the Pioneers for the rest of the game. They took a 14-0 lead in the game and went into halftime up 14-7.
Running the ball became the Pioneers’ theme. Kobe Hiller ran the ball 24 times for 132 yards and three touchdowns, including a long run of 55 yards.
Jacob Schmidt added 76 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. He had a long run of 20 yards.
“Our offensive line did a nice job of opening some holes,” Schoeneman said. “Winter was very aggressive in their blitzing which caused openings for us that we took advantage of.”
The Pioneers pulled away in the third, taking a 28-7 lead. In addition to running, the Pioneers threw for some success. Quarterback Baylie Huybrecht threw a touchdown pass to Joseph Laudolff.
Winter/Birchwood did come back to make it competitive at the end, but ultimately the Pioneer defense stepped up when the team needed them most.
“As a whole the defense played out of this world,” Schoeneman said. “They were very aggressive, the stats will reflect that.”
Schmidt led the team with 13 1/2 total tackles. He added in two sacks and a forced fumble as well. Ryan Losh added in two sacks. Patrick Grams led the team with 2 1/2 tackles for loss.
Trae Schultz came up with an interception, adding in a forced fumble, too. Tyler Emo totaled 3 1/2 tackles, including one sack.
In total, the Pioneer defense recorded six sacks, eight tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
The win puts the Pioneers at 2-5 overall, 2-2 in conference. The top team in conference, Shell Lake awaits on Saturday.
“It does not get any easier,” Schoeneman said. “Shell Lake is first in our conference, probably another top 10 team in the state. They have beaten Northwoods and Siren, teams that beat us early in season.”
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday in Mercer.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]