Fox was again a Panther killer. He finished with 73 yards rushing and a touchdown and was 5-of-8 passing for 100 yards and a touchdown in his second game back from a broken collarbone that sidelined him for five games.
Levi Schultz added with 56 yards rushing and 61 yards receiving for Winamac, and Kasten had 73 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
Winamac outgained Pioneer 376-216 in total yardage including 276-170 on the ground. None of the yards were more important than the final 80 on the final drive with the regional on the line.
Mersch led the Panthers with 87 yards rushing on 21 carries. Keith Nies had 40 yard on eight attempts, and he broke his collarbone during a late tackle playing defense. Smith added 31 yards on six attempts. Kiser, a 1,000-yard rusher on the season as a sophomore, was held to 12 yards on 11 attempts with a touchdown and was 5-of-12 passing for 46 yards and another score.
Pioneer’s leading tackler on the season, Tyler Hanna, played on defense with a broken hand but was unable to play on offense, forcing freshman Nies into double duty.
The Panthers had just four seniors play in the game — Smith, Hanna, Buell and left tackle A.J. Beckley — so the future remains bright.
The future is now for the Warriors, who are a win away from their first ever trip to the state finals.
Scorebox: Winamac 28, Pioneer 14. Next: Warriors host Tri-Central in semistate.