From the September 30th issue of The Pioneer:
By Jordan Lauterbach
Eric Anderwkavich watched his pass sail over the head of Chris Harris and fall incomplete just beyond the end zone with under a minute to go in last Saturday’s 28-14 loss to fourth ranked Bloomsburg at Redman Stadium. It was a fitting way to end a day that defined the frustrations of the 2009 Pioneer football season. Yet again, the Pioneers had a chance to knock off a superior opponent and yet again they fell just short.
The Bloomsburg Huskies didn’t live up to expectations for most of this early fall afternoon. The team hailed as the fourth best in Division Two was sloppy throughout the game. The Huskies committed seven penalties for a total of seventy yards, allowing the Pioneers to stay in the game. Fifth year senior quarterback Dan Latorre was 10 of 17, passing for 125 yards and one touchdown. Pressured all day, Latorre was sacked twice but avoided making any crucial mistakes. He got the scoring started when he found Cory Stiger in the end zone with four minutes gone in the first quarter.
What looked like a potentially long day for the Pioneers turned on a dime when Chris Harris pulled in an Eric Anderwkavich touchdown pass with a little over seven minutes to go in the first quarter. The catch was only one of the eleven that Harris would finish with.
Bloomsburg running back Derrick Price began his fantastic day on the final play of the opening period when he punched in a one yard touchdown to cap off a seven minute drive and give the Huskies a 14-7 lead. Price would finish the game averaging over seven yards a carry.
Bloomsburg would never relinquish this lead. But that’s not to say that they didn’t come close.
Late in the first half, the Pioneers had their first of four missed opportunities in the red zone. Eric Anderwkavich’s pass to Darnel Williams on fourth and goal fell incomplete and killed a ten play, 55 yard drive. The drive was kept alive by a 15 yard Bloomsburg facemask penalty that pushed the Pioneers from midfield to the Husky 34 yard line.
The Pioneers would get the ball back once more in the first half, but turned it over when Anderwkavich was intercepted on the second play of the drive. C.W Post’s defense would hold and the Pioneers would go into the locker room down by only one touchdown to the fourth best team in the nation.
Derrick Price gave the Huskies a 21-7 lead with ten minutes to go in the third quarter after a thirty three yard touchdown run. The ensuing Pioneer drive was highlighted by two big catches by Darnel Williams and Chris Harris, but went for naught when the Pioneers failed on a fourth down conversion from the Bloomsburg thirty one yard line.
The fourth quarter began with a similar theme for the Pioneers- fourth down failure. Electing to go for the first down instead of the chip shot field goal, the Pioneers turned the ball over on downs yet again. Although freshman kicker Justin Bertone has been solid filling in for the injured Jon Korn, Coach Bryan Collins seemed reluctant to use him all day. In effect, the Pioneers were playing without a place-kicker. The failures on fourth down only enhanced the need for a stronger kicking game. While coaches typically never want to settle for field goals, sometimes it’s the most logical thing to do. With solid special teams, the score could have been 21-16 with ten minutes to play. Instead, it remained 21-7.
The Pioneers inched to within a touchdown of tying the game when Chris Harris caught his second touchdown of the day to make it 21-14 with 3:08 to go in the fourth quarter. It was here when the most perplexing sequence of the game occurred. Instead of trying to pin the Huskies deep on the kickoff and make a quick defensive stop, the Pioneers pooch kicked the football to midfield. If the call was for an onside kick, it failed. Up-man Chris Tressler was able to call for a fair catch at the Bloomsburg forty nine yard line.
With a short field, Dan Latorre marched his team down the field and Derrick Price scored for the third time to effectively end the game. The Pioneers failed on fourth down with a little over a minute to go and fell to 1-4 on the season and 1-1 in the PSAC East.
Missed opportunities were certainly the theme in the Pioneers fifth game of the year. C.W Post was two of six in the red zone, one of six on fourth down, and five of sixteen on third down. Stats like these don’t lead to winning football games.
The Pioneers return home this week to play Shippensburg in their annual homecoming game. The Red Raiders are coming off a 66-24 win over Millersville last Saturday. Coverage on WCWP begins at 12:30.