Class A No. 9 Pioneer recorded a 50-22 win at Tri-County on Friday night.
The Panthers (6-2, 5-1 Midwest Conference) won their sixth straight game after an 0-2 start to the season.
Pioneer had 474 yards of offense, all on the ground. Fullback Justin Mersch led the way with 239 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Halfback Tyler Hanna added 106 yards and two TDs on 10 attempts.
The Panthers led 28-8 at halftime. PHS coach Mike Johnson said they had a chance to add another score before the half but came up short.
Tri-County (3-5, 2-4) recovered an onside kick to open the second half and then drove the ball down the field to make it a 28-14 game.
But the Panthers answered with three straight scores and led as much as 50-14 in the fourth quarter.
Mersch had a 70-yard TD run on the Panthers’ first possession of the game and added TD runs of 49 and 4 yards in the third quarter.
Quarterback Sam Kiser had a 21-yard TD run in the first quarter and a 1-yard TD plunge in the second quarter and finished with 67 yards on nine attempts.
Hanna had a 6-yard TD run to open the second quarter to make it a 22-0 game and capped off the scoring for the Panthers with a 15-yard score.
J.P. Smith added 48 yards on seven carries for Pioneer.
Tri-County rushed for 209 yards and passed for an additional 46.
“We pretty much won the line of scrimmage,” Johnson said. “They did a good job of taking away Mersch early and Hanna got going. He had a real nice game.”
Pioneer hosts West Central next week to conclude the regular season.
W. Central 36, N. Judson 28
Hunter Holiday threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Parker Fritz in the fourth quarter for the game-winning score to break open a 28-28 tie.
Parker Fritz rushed for 194 yards and two TDs on 25 carries to lead the Trojans (6-2). He had TD runs of 2 and 7 yards to get them out to a 14-0 lead, but North Judson battled back and cut the lead to 14-12 at the half.