Pioneers Keep Rolling, Nearly Blanks Garden Spot

On Friday night, the Pioneer football team took on the Spartans from Garden Spot. Going into the game, the Pioneers were ranked 4th in the state among 4A teams and 1st in the district ahead of Bishop McDevitt, Cocalico, and Berks Catholic. The Pioneer offense continues to fly high, now averaging about 44 points per contest. The defense has also been spectacular, allowing under 10 points and about 180 yards per game. 


The Pioneers opened scoring just 3 minutes into the game after a big 26-yard reception by Beau Heyser after a beautiful throw from QB Sean McTaggart. McTaggart currently has the highest QB rating among eligible Section 3 players. The Pioneers are now making somewhat of a habit out of blocking punts, this week by Conner Nolt.
 After a fumble recovery by Alex Knapp, Sean McTaggart threw for his 2nd TD of the night, this time finding Ian Herr. Near the beginning of the second quarter, the duo of Brady Cole and Parker Owens continued their reign of terror over opposing offenses as Cole forced a fumble that was recovered by Owens. The turnover gave the Pioneers possession in the Spartan's red zone, which they cashed in on after a Drew Harris TD run pushed the LS lead to 20. Beau Heyser and Austin Stoltzfus caught a pair of TDs late in the first half to give the Pioneers a lead of 33 going into halftime. 

The Pioneer offense started the second half off with a bang after Alex Knapp exploded through a gap in the defense en route to a huge 72 yard TD run. After over 11 quarters of not giving up a single point, the second-team defense finally relented and gave up a 35 yard QB scramble to Jesse Martin, which resulted in the only points of the night for the Spartans. The first-team defense has still not given up any points in the month of October. The final score of the game was Lampeter-Strasburg 40, Garden Spot 7.
THREE STARS:
QB Sean McTaggart: It was an outstanding night for the Senior behind center, throwing for 4 TDs on 185 yards and adding 33 yards on the ground. McTaggart's throw were right on target all night, going over the top of the defense to find Austin Stoltzfus, Beau Heyser, and Ian Herr on 20+ yard receptions. 

Pioneer Defense: I struggled to pick just one or two players to put here, but I think it's fair to put the whole unit. The stats speak for themselves. Parker Owens alone had 5 tackles for loss. Owens, Beau Heyser, Elijah Carr, Conner Nolt, and Luke Hines were all above 5 total tackles. The unit forced many turnovers and held the Spartans were held to just 21 yards through the air.

Garden Spot QB/DB Jesse Martin: Martin was somewhat of a silver-lining tonight for the Spartans, making an impact on both sides of the ball. He came down with two interceptions defensively (one from McTaggart and one from Berkeley Wagner) and ran for a touchdown on the other side of the ball. 

Honorable Mentions: TE/LB Beau Heyser, HB/DB Alex Knapp, Pioneer Offensive Line. 

SCORING SUMMARY:

1st Quarter:
(LS) Beau Heyser 26 yard reception (Missed PAT). LS 6-GS 0. 
2nd Quarter:
(LS) Ian Herr 28 yard reception. LS 13-GS 0.
(LS) Drew Harris 2 yard run. LS 20-GS 0.
(LS) Beau Heyser 18 yard reception (Missed PAT). LS 26-GS 0. 
(LS) Austin Stoltzfus 49 yard reception. LS 33-GS 0. 
3rd Quarter:
(LS) Alex Knapp 72 yard run. LS 40-GS 0.
4th Quarter:
(GS) Jesse Martin 35 yard run. LS 40-GS 7. 

STANDOUT STATS: (Courtesy Lancaster OnlineMaxpreps, and Matt Pawlikowski

Passing:
(LS) Sean McTaggart: 9-15, 185 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
(GS) Jesse Martin: 1-7, 21 yards
Rushing:
(LS) Alex Knapp: 89 yards, 22.25 yards per carry, 1 TD
(LS) Gio Malatesta: 52 yards, 10.4 yards per carry
(GS) John Dykie: 46 yards, 3.29 yards per carry
(GS) Jesse Martin: 41 yards, 4.1 yards per carry, 1 TD
Receiving:
(LS) Beau Heyser: 85 yards, 3 receptions, 2 TDs
(LS) Austin Stolzfus 64 yards, 3 reception, 1 TD

With the win against the Spartans, the Pioneers now clinch at least a tie for the Section 3 title. A win next week against the Ephrata Mountaineers at War Memorial Stadium would clinch the title. The Mounts are coming off a strong showing at Sun Valley, where they won 23-6. The Spartans will try to win their second game of the season next week against the Lancaster Catholic Crusaders. 

By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter
Photos by Jonathan Klein, LS News Editor-in-Chief

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