By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Pioneer coach Kurt Myers is trying to stay positive as his 0-5 Mustangs prepare for their first-ever meeting at No. 10-ranked Watonga in a District A-3 matchup at 7:30 Friday night.
“We talk about our positives as much as possible,’’ said Myers. “We try to make practices as fun as we can make it. We stress we’re out here for brotherhood ... just trying to find those moral victories.’’
Pioneer could find some moral victories in last week’s 52-20 loss to No. 5 Cashion.
The Mustangs became the first team to get a lead on the Wildcats this year when Aaron Chain scored on a 58-yard run on Pioneer’s first offensive series.
Pioneer rushed for a season-high 238 yards, despite starting quarterback Jett Jobe being sidelined. Colin Mason, Jobe’s replacement, scored on a 69-yard run. Chase Courter scored on a 49-yard run.
“There are some things we can build on from that game,’’ Myers said. “We moved the ball on their starters. We’re making the same mistakes — turning the ball over (five turnovers against Cashion) and giving up big plays on defense. Those things are a hindrance.’’
With Jobe out, the Mustangs brought out the Wildcat formation for the first time this season with Chain taking the direct snap from center. Pioneer had put it in last week.
“Cashion hadn’t seen us in it before so it might have caught them off guard,’’ Myers said. “It gave us an opportunity to run the football and we did a good job of it.’’
With Jobe back for Friday, the Wildcat may or may not make an appearance.
“It will depend on the situation,’’ Myers said. “We’re not a Wildcat football team. It’s not our primary offense. We are a multiple offense team and that’s another chink in the chain.’’
Cashion gained 209 yards rushing and another 189 passing against the Mustangs. The Wildcats are averaging more than 40 points a game.
“We’re not the only team they have made plays on,’’ Myers said. “The (quarterback Ty) Reasoner kid was awfully good. He made one of the best throws I’ve seen a kid make in a long time ... a laser across the middle for a 35-yard gain. That sucker was amazing.’’
Chain and lineman Dalton Snow both graded high against the Wildcats.
Watonga will take a 3-2 overall record and a 2-0 district mark against the Mustangs. Quarterback Travis Hartfield did not play in a 22-0 loss to Snyder on Sept. 14.
Watonga, in its first season under coach David Lorenz, has a balanced offense with Hartfield as the trigger man.
“He’s as good as an athlete as we have faced,’’ Myers said.
That might be bad news for Pioneer, which already has faced two quarterbacks with more than 1,000 yards passing — Fairview’s Grant Nightengale (1,047) and Cashion’s Ty Reasoner (1,208).
D’qwan Loneman is a breakaway halfback for the Eagles. Myers said he feels the Mustangs can match up against Watonga on the line.
The schedule has been the biggest thorn in Pioneer’s side. Two of the losses have come against unbeaten teams — Fairview and Cashion. Another was to 4-1 Mooreland. The other two were to traditional powers Okeene and Snyder.
“It’s been pretty tough,’’ Myers said. “We’re improving every week, but ... last week we were playing the No. 5 team in the state. We’re making progress. It just hasn’t equaled any wins yet. We’re still competing and still working hard. I’ve never faced this tough of a schedule in my career.’’
Seniors Nicholas Denker, Jacob Knight, Chain, Colby Adasiak and Jake Mercado are doing a good job of leadership and keeping the young players positive, Myers said.
“These guys are trying to improve themselves as football players and as a football team,’’ Myers said. “They deserve to have success.’’
Myers said Pioneer must “stay within the structure of the defense” to slow the Eagles’ attack. “Hopefully, we can make some tackles when we have a chance. We have to tackle better and play better fundamental football. We’re working hard on it in practice.’’
The Mustangs will host unbeaten Crescent next week.
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