The Panthers were also able to overcome Carroll’s size advantage.
“They were huge. They outmanned us at every spot on the field,” Johnson said. “I’m happy with the way we played offensively and defensively to combat some of their size. It was a good win for us last week.”
The Panthers are facing a Frontier team that has also made big strides throughout the season, Johnson said.
In sectional play Frontier avenged a 2-point loss to South Newton with a 38-12 win and then last week avenged a 7-point loss to Caston with a 27-0 win.
“They’re a lot different ballclub certainly from the beginning of the season and when we played them. They’re a very good team,” Johnson said. “They’re on a roll right now. It’s at their place. It’s a difficult challenge for us.”
In the regular-season game Frontier was within 16-7 of Pioneer at halftime on Sept. 27. The Panthers pulled away in the second half for a 47-13 win.
The next week the Falcons snapped a 34-game losing streak with a 40-16 win over West Central.
The Falcons have shown improved play of late despite being without leading rusher Hunter McCracken, who’s been out with a knee injury. Johnson said he is unsure of his status for tonight.
Justin Mersch has rushed for 1,636 yards and 26 touchdowns to lead the Panthers. Sam Kiser has rushed for 998 yards and 18 TDs and passed for 405 yards and 5 TDs. J.P. Smith adds 527 yards rushing and 8 TDs. Tyler Hanna leads the defense with 33 solo tackles and 27 assists.
Tipton (8-3) at Delphi (6-5)
Tipton’s football program has a long-standing tradition where, following a win the previous Friday, at Thursday pregame walkthroughs it places a tombstone in the ground with the defeated team’s name on it.
It’s know as “Burying ‘em at The Rock.” The Blue Devils put 25 years worth of frustration to the grave last Friday night in a 28-24 come-from behind triumph over No. 2-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic in Class 2A sectional semifinal action.