A year ago the Loganland Offensive Player of the Year was a lineman from Pioneer, Brandon Van Horn.
The Panthers have another dominating senior lineman this year in Josh Lytle, whom Pioneer coach Mike Johnson said is as good if not better than Van Horn.
Lytle, at 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, has helped pave the way for the Class A No. 4-ranked Panthers (7-1) this season, as he’s a force in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
“He’s become a great leader for us this year,” Pioneer coach Mike Johnson said. “What a great kid. Not only is he a great player — he’s really dedicated to the offseason workouts — he’s a great kid off the field too. He’s an Eagle Scout, I’m not sure you get much better than that.”
The Panthers are a senior-led team that have had varsity newcomers step in and fill key spots.
“I feel like as a team we’ve come a long way,” Lytle said. “We knew going into the season we would have a lot of guys who have not had much experience at the varsity level new to the team. It’s been nice to seen them develop and learn how to play at the varsity level. They have all improved.”
The Panthers have a showdown at No. 8 West Central (8-0) Friday night that is for the Midwest Conference championship. Pioneer enters with a 46-game MWC winning streak.
“It’s a huge game,” Lytle said. “Their record is better than ours right now. When there’s an undefeated team in the conference, it’s a big game, especially with the streak on the line. There’s a lot of stuff surrounding this game. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. We’ve been intense in our preparation and intense in our practices this week. I think we’ll be ready to play.”