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Springville-Griffith varsity football falls to Pioneer during homecoming contest

RUN IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT — Ethan Benz led Springville in the backfield, running seven times for 31 yards, in the loss to Pioneer. Photo by Dave DeLuca.

SPRINGVILLE — Behind junior workhorses Tyler Mummery and Kris Riordan, Pioneer gashed visiting Springville 29-0 to punch their ticket to the Class B playoffs. In front of a spirited homecoming crowd, Pioneer rumbled for 250 yards rushing, courtesy of Mummery, who finished with 23 carries for 112 yards, and Riordan, who had 93 yards on 14 carries and 2 touchdowns.

“Everyone played great, on both sides of the ball,” said Pioneer senior captain Justin Bliss. “Our offensive line blocked great, all game. Our running backs ran hard. Our quarterback, Bryce Little, made great decisions when we needed to throw and our defense really stepped up big.”

Midway through the first quarter, Pioneer took the field position advantage, when Nate Haggerty returned a punt 21 yards to the Springville 18-yard-line. Four plays later, Little scored from 1 yard out, on a quarterback sneak, to give the Panthers an early 7-0 lead.

On Springville’s ensuing possession, Bliss made the play of the game, when he intercepted a screen pass from his defensive end position and took off for a 56-yard touchdown return, to give Pioneer a two-score advantage. The interception was Bliss’ third career interception.

“The tackle reached out and tried to set me up, and I just drove through it,” said Bliss, about the play. “I just try to read the quarterback the best I could. I saw him set up for a pass and I got my pass rush; as soon as he set up to throw, I just got my hands up. Sometimes, it’s just the luck of the draw and it lands in your hands.”

Bliss was a staple in a dominating defensive effort for Pioneer, which limited Springville to 97 yards of total offense. The Panther defense forced three turnovers, all interceptions of Springville quarterback Devin White-Kearns. Foster Dell, a sophomore defensive lineman, led Pioneer with six tackles, three for losses, and two sacks. Haggerty finished with two interceptions.

“Homecoming is always a distraction,” Pioneer coach Jim Duprey said. “I was happy that they were able to come out and be prepared and play one heck of a game. The difference was, our defense was extremely aggressive; we gang tackled. That really helped us out.”

Springville was left searching for answers, after Pioneer held its offense in check. Springville ran the ball 28 times for 84 yards, an average of 3 yards per rush. Springville’s Ethan Benz carried the ball seven times, for 31 yards in the loss.

“When it comes to the execution, it just wasn’t there,” said Rob Valenti, Springville’s assistant coach and line coach. “[We were] having minor composure issues. In a sense, it was like we were getting lost in ourselves.”

Springville, which fell to 2-4 overall and 2-3 in league play, hosts Olean next week, while Pioneer, which stands at 4-2 and 4-1 in its league, travels to Eden.


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