Pioneer standout and Notre Dame-bound Jack Kiser looks for help as the Triton defense puts on the pressure during the second quarter. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Pioneer standout and Notre Dame-bound Jack Kiser looks for help as the Triton defense puts on the pressure during the second quarter. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
BOURBON – The Triton football team reached the end of the line Friday.

The Trojans made early mistakes that allowed Class 1A No. 1 Pioneer a fast start, and lost 66-0 to the defending state champion Panthers at home in a regional championship.

“It comes down to this: (the Panthers) are gonna win state,” said Triton coach Ron Brown. “They are, and the reason they’re gonna win state is because they understand the concept of team.”

It didn’t help the Trojans’ cause that, down 7-0, they fumbled a kick return that set Pioneer up at the Triton 25-yard line.

It took just three plays for Notre Dame recruit Jack Kiser to follow his blockers into the end zone for a nine-yard run.

Triton’s next possession was a three-and-out. The Trojans recovered their own muffed punt, but lost 21 yards in the process, which ultimately set up the Panthers at the Triton 7.

“Those critical errors gave them a short field, and when you do that you’re going to get punched in the face,” Brown said.

This time, it took just one play for Kiser to run it in from seven yards out.

By the end of the first quarter, Pioneer held a 20-0 lead.

The Panthers tacked on two more scores in the second quarter for the 34-0 advantage at the break.

The Trojans made it into Pioneer territory multiple times, but the closest they came to scoring was on their first drive of the second half.

Delano Shumpert broke free for a 55-yard run that brought the Trojans to the Pioneer 20.

Triton reached the Panthers’ 9-yard line before a bad snap led to a four-yard loss, and another sack brought the Trojans back to the 17.

Two incomplete passes killed the Trojans’ best shot at a score, and Pioneer piled on the touchdowns for the victory.

Kiser ran the ball 17 times for 88 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 3 of 4 passes for 18 yards and two touchdowns.

He also scored after stripping the ball from a Triton running back and returning the fumble 60 yards to pay-dirt.

Danny Gregorich rushed 13 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers (13-0), who advanced to semistate on a 28-game winning streak.

Pioneer coach Adam Berry gave credit to Triton’s gameplan, and also noted special teams made the difference.

“We always say special teams was a big part of the game, and we need to win all three parts of the game,” Berry said. “And when we do, we need to take advantage and that’s what we did.”

Triton finished its season at 9-4. The Trojans won their first sectional championship since 2008 and reached nine wins for the first time in program history.

Brown gave credit to his seniors for their maturation, and also noted how far the Trojans have come since they went 2-8 in Brown’s first season in 2015.

“We wanted to make sure our community could be proud of us, and not embarrassed of us,” he said. “I feel like we flipped that script, and we’ve been able to do that.”



PIONEER 66, TRITON 0

P    20    14    24    8    —    66

T    0    0     0    0     —    0



    P    T

1st downs    16    7

Rushing yds    364    79

Passing yds    18    20

Comp-Att-Int    3-4-0    5-13-1

Total yds    382    99

Fumbles/lost    2/1    6/4

Penalties/yds    7/70    1/10



First Quarter

P – Danny Gregorich 35 run (conversion failed), 5:12

P – Jack Kiser 9 run (Kiser 2 run) 3:31

P – Kiser 7 run (conversion failed), 1:38

Second Quarter

P – Kiser 5 run (Lewellen pass from Kiser), 5:08

P – Gregorich 17 run (conversion failed), :52.8

Third Quarter

P ­– Gregorich 5 run (Calahan Kindley pass from Kiser), 6:03

P – Dustin Sparks 7 pass from Kiser (Miles Von Tobel run), 2:38

P – Addai Lewellen 12 pass from Kiser (Ezra Lewellen run), ;11.1

Fourth Quarter

P – Kiser 60 fumble return (Ezra Lewellen run), 8:06



INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Pioneer, Danny Gregorich 13-111, Addai Lewellen 2-91, Jack Kiser 17-88, Ezra Lewellen 2-28, Miles Von Tobel 4-28, Derek Wireman 2-18; Triton, Delano Shumpert 4-55, James Snyder 10-26,  Zach Ernie 2-5, Hunter McIntyre 2-3, Ethan Berry 8-(-10), Koby Mast 1-0.  Passing — Pioneer, Kiser 3-4-18, 2 TD; Triton, Snyder 5-13-20, 1 INT, Connor Pitney 0-1-0, Shumpert 0-1-0, Berry 0-1-0.

Receiving — Pioneer, Gregorich 1-9, Sparks 1-7, Von Tobel 1-2; Triton, Tye Orsund 3-16, Shumpert 2-4.

Records: Pioneer 13-0, Triton 9-4