The McClain Tigers hosted the Zane Trace Pioneers on a rainy Friday night. After a back-and-forth first half, the Pioneers eventually cruised to a 39-21 victory on the road.
The Pioneers won the coin toss and elected to defer to begin the ball game. The Tigers failed to get anything going on their opening possession, being forced to punt after a quick three and out.
Starting on their own 37-yard line, the Pioneers utilized their running attack and their passing game to march down the field. After converting a 3rd and 5, running back Ryan Winans found a seam in the Tigers defense on a 27-yard touchdown run to stake the Pioneers to an early 7-0 lead.
The Tigers moved the ball more effectively, but after a sack on 3rd and 10 were forced to punt yet again.
After forcing the Pioneers to punt, the Tigers offense opened up to the tune of a 45-yard run by tight end Dalton Mischal. With the ball on the 2-yard line, Kyler Trefz found pay dirt on a 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7 apiece.
With momentum squarely in their favor, the Tigers defense stood strong and forced a three and out on the next Pioneers possession.
With the Tigers facing a 3rd and short situation, Trefz burst through the middle for a 40-yard touchdown scamper to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
However, the momentum didn’t last. After moving the ball well, Pioneers quarterback Gabe Shanton executed a quarterback keeper beautifully on a 46-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14.
The Tigers couldn’t respond on their next possession and gave the ball right back to the Pioneers on a fumble.
The Pioneers capitalized and reclaimed the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Cougar Stauffer.
The Tigers again found trouble holding onto the ball and again turned the ball over on a fumble by Mischal. However, this time he corrected his mistake on the very next play, intercepting a pass and returning it all the way to tie the score at 21 with 2:52 left in the first half.
Neither team could gain any traction to begin the second half with forgettable drives by each team.
The Pioneers finally broke the scoreless streak in the ball game on a 5-yard touchdown run by Shanton. The extra-point was blocked, and the Tigers began their next possession trailing 27-21.
After another three and out by the Tigers offense, the Pioneers began to find their rhythm again on the ground on a 31-yard run by running back Kieren Place. Two plays later, Stauffer ran the ball into the end zone and the Pioneers two-point conversion attempt failed but they still led by a score of 33-21.
The Tigers continued to struggle on offense and failed to add any more points to their total despite starting on the Pioneers 4-yard line.
The Pioneers put the game out of reach for good on a 72-yard run by Place to push the lead to 39-21.
The Tigers attempted to pull closer on their final possession but turned the ball over on downs. The Pioneers ran down the remaining time on the clock to win by a score of 39-21.
The Tigers are on the road next Friday at East Clinton, game time is set for 7:00 p.m.
Spencer Michael is stringer for The Times-Gazette.