Pioneers Fall Just Short in State Semifinals

On Friday night, the District IV champion Jersey Shore Bulldogs traveled to West Lampeter to take on the District III champion Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers at J.K. Mechanical Stadium. With a trip to Hersheypark Stadium on the line, it was a hotly contested battle between two great teams. 

After a slow start by both teams, the offenses exploded midway through the first quarter. Cam Allison opened the scoring for the Bulldogs on a 24-yard run. The Pioneer offense answered back immediately after Beau Heyser made a defender miss and trotted into the end zone to level the score.

In the 2nd quarter, the Bulldogs started to go to the air. Owen Anderson found the end zone on a hitch & go play call, giving the Bulldogs the lead. Yet again, Beau Heyser answered back, this time a short 3-yard reception. Throughout the rest of the first half, both teams simply aired it out as Berkeley Wagner, Cayden Hess, and Beau Heyser all caught touchdown receptions for their respective teams. Going into halftime, the Pioneers had a 28-21 lead. Sean McTaggart had a very impressive first half, throwing for 354 yards. 197 of those yards went to tight end Beau Heyser, and 100 went to wideout Ian Herr. 

In the 3rd quarter, Cam Allison ran for his 2nd touchdown of the night, reducing the Pioneer lead to a single point. On the next drive, a throw by Sean McTaggart went straight into the hands of Dalton Dugan, leading to a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown. Later in the quarter, Sean McTaggart earned his 5th overall touchdown of the game, visiting the end zone on a 2 yard QB keeper. 

In the final 12 minutes, Cayden Hess found the end zone on a 5-yard reception, giving the Bulldogs a 39-35 lead. After a big interception in the end zone by Hess along with a pair of calls not going the Pioneers' way, the Bulldogs knelt the final few seconds of the game away, booking a trip to Hershey next weekend. 

THREE STARS:

TE Beau Heyser: What a night for the 2022 tight end. 11 catches for 229 yards, along with 3 visits to the end zone for Heyser. Video game numbers. Heyser is poised to be one of the top pass-catchers on next year's Pioneer football team. 

QB Sean McTaggart: Speaking of video game numbers: 476 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns. Despite being given almost no time to throw thanks to Jersey Shore's outstanding pass-rush, Sean still hit his targets and reached the quadruple century mark passing-wise. 

HB Cam Allison: In addition to his two touchdown runs, Allison also set up the game-winning score for the Bulldogs with a 41-yard run that put the offense in the red zone. 

Honorable Mentions: WR Ian Herr, WR Cayden Hess, LB Dalton Dugan



SCORING SUMMARY:

1st Quarter:
(JS) Cam Allison 24 Yard Run. LS 0 - JS 7.
(LS) Beau Heyser 42 Yard Reception. LS 7 - JS 7.
2nd Quarter:
(JS) Owen Anderson 55 Yard Reception. LS 7 - JS 14.
(LS) Beau Heyser 3 Yard Reception. LS 14 - JS 14.
(LS) Berkeley Wagner 35 Yard Reception. LS 21 - JS 14.
(JS) Cayden Hess 5 Yard Reception. LS 21 - JS 21.
(LS) Beau Heyser 84 Yard Reception. LS 28 - JS 21.
3rd Quarter:
(JS) Cam Allison 7 Yard Run (PAT Missed). LS 28 - JS 27.
(JS) Dalton Dugan 27 Yard Interception Return (Conversion Unsuccessful). LS 28 - JS 33.
(LS) Sean McTaggart 2 Yard Run. LS 35 - JS 33. 
4th Quarter:
(JS) Cayden Hess 5 Yard Reception (Conversion Unsuccessful). LS 35 - JS 39.

The Bulldogs will head to Hersheypark Stadium next weekend to take on the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars in a game that will decide the winner of the 4-A state championship. The Jaguars defeated L-S 44-2 in last season's semifinal game. The Jaguars defeated the Oil City Oilers 62-0 Friday night, earning the chance to defend their crown. As for the Pioneers, a truly devastating loss for a team that has worked so hard and been extraordinarily successful this season. Despite the disappointing loss, the Pioneers were a fun team to watch this season, and have plenty to be proud of. A section title, repeating as District III champions, an undefeated regular season, and by all measures the greatest season in school history.  

By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter

Photos by Jonathan Klein, LS News Editor-in-Chief

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