McTaggart Leads Pioneers Past Conrad Weiser in District Semifinal
It was a very explosive and equally entertaining night at J.K. Mechanical Stadium. 13 touchdowns, 91 points, and plenty of high-flying action. The game was a must win for both teams, with a ticket to the District III 4-A finals being at stake. Both the #1 seeded Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers and the #4 seeded Conrad Weiser Scouts went into the game with an undefeated record.
After a fumble on the first offensive outing for the Pioneers, Austin Stoltzfus collected a deep ball thrown by QB Sean McTaggart on the first play of the drive resulting in a 70-yard touchdown catch. After a failed fake punt attempt was snuffed out by Conner Nolt, the Pioneers put more points on the board via an amazing catch by Beau Heyser in the back of the end zone. Drew Harris also came out of the backfield to record a touchdown reception in the first quarter.
About halfway through the second quarter, Ian Herr showed off his speed en route to a 76-yard touchdown reception. Beau Heyser forced the first turnover of the game on the next drive, leaping to make an interception at the line of scrimmage. This turnover turned into a touchdown for Alex Knapp, which extended the Pioneer lead to 35. Just when it looked like things were going to get ugly, the Scout offense struck back by scoring 28 points in a span of under 8 minutes. Scout QB Logan Klitsch ran for 2 touchdowns, both on QB keepers. He also tossed a pair of touchdowns to Nate Fizz and Hunter Eberhardt, with the latter being a spectacular grab.
The Pioneers finally stopped the bleeding in the 3rd quarter after Beau Heyser caught his second touchdown of the night. After a good punt return, Sean McTaggart threw another touchdown, this time to Alex Knapp. With just under 7 minutes remaining in the game, Logan Klitsch threw a touchdown pass to Iann Firestone, making it a two-score game. With a few minutes left, Alex Knapp found the end zone for the 3rd time of the night on a 4 yard run. The Pioneers won the game by a scoreline of 56-35.
QB Sean McTaggart: 353 passing yards. 17 completions. 7 touchdown passes. Seven. By whatever metric you use, it was an incredible night for McTaggart. It was a night he won't forget for a while, and neither will anybody else in the district. Sean is now the District III record holder for most touchdown passes in a single playoff game. An absolute jaw-dropping performance from the Pioneer QB.
QB Logan Klitsch: For how incredible McTaggart was Friday night, Klitsch was also impressive. 5 total touchdowns is no number to laugh at. Despite being forced out of the pocket on what seemed like every play, Klitsch threw for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also showed off his running abilities, finding the end zone twice on 51 and 63 yard runs.
RB/WR Alex Knapp: The "Swiss Army Knife" was poking holes in the Scout defense all night. On top of his rushing touchdown, he was also lined up as a receiver and caught two touchdowns.
Honorable Mentions: TE/LB Beau Heyser, DE Parker Owens, LB Elijah Carr
(LS) Austin Stoltzfus 70 Yard Reception. LS 7-CW 0.
(LS) Beau Heyser 16 Yard Reception (PAT Blocked). LS 13-CW 0.
(LS) Drew Harris 29 Yard Reception (PAT Missed). LS 19-CW 0.
(LS) Ian Herr 76 Yard Reception (Conversion Successful). LS 27-CW 0.
(LS) Alex Knapp 20 Yard Reception (Conversion Successful). LS 35-CW 0.
(CW) Logan Klitsch 51 Yard Run. LS 35-CW 7.
(CW) Nate Fizz 39 Yard Reception. LS 35-CW 14.
(CW) Hunter Eberhardt 22 Yard Reception. LS 35-CW 21.
(CW) Logan Klitsch 63 Yard Run. LS 35-CW 28.
(LS) Beau Heyser 23 Yard Reception. LS 42-CW 28.
(LS) Alex Knapp 21 Yard Reception. LS 49-CW 28.
(CW) Iann Firestone 11 Yard Reception. LS 49-CW 35.
(LS) Alex Knapp 4 Yard Run. LS 56-CW 35.
The Pioneers have advanced to the District III 4-A title game. They will play at home against Section 4 champion ELCO Raiders. The Raiders crushed Northern York 42-7 in their semifinal match up without throwing a single pass. As for the Scouts, they have no more scheduled games but are free to play games until November 28th under PIAA rules.
By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter
Photos by Jonathan Klein, LS News Editor-in-Chief