On Sept. 26, Pioneer’s stadium was filled with a crowd of students dressed in black. They were ready to cheer on the Pioneer men’s varsity soccer team on senior night, against Saline High School.
As the whistle was blown, Pioneer started out strong — Caleb Shoup, the team’s usual first-string keeper, started as striker. The crowd was surprised to see him on the field rather than in the goal, but he proved that he was worthy of the position.
At the 33 minute mark he scored the first goal of the night.
“It was a dream come true,” Shoup said. “Especially considering that we have not beat Saline since I’ve been in high school.” The small moment in the game made Shoup feel accomplished. He believed that it was a great way to end his senior year season on the field.
Pioneer continued to surprise the crowd, who cheered loud and proud, with technique and communication. Less than five minutes later, Jhustin Mitchenor — a senior — scored the second goal of the night.
As the first half was coming to an end, Austin Jacubs was given the opportunity to go to goal from a ball sent from Pioneer’s back line and over Saline’s defensive line. He fought his way all the way to the goal and scored. The crowd went wild. But, after he scored, the referee acknowledged one of the linemen holding up his flag for an offsides call. The first half ended 2-0.
Saline went into their respective locker room while Pioneer commemorated their seniors: Caleb Shoup, Alex Szumko, Ian Figeroa, James Simon, Jhustin Mitchenor, Ben Matton, David Schnell, Jackson Hall, Austin Jacobs and OJ Frometas. They were celebrated for their hard work and accompanied by family members that supported them through their journey with soccer.
The second half began as strong as the first. More players of all ages were participating in the game, but for the most part, the field was full of seniors.
Both Pioneer and Saline had the chance to score a goal but neither actually got the ball into the goal. The final score of the Pioneer home game against Saline was 2-0.
Any hope gained from a season-opening 62-14 blowout win by Huron football was quickly extinguished during their homecoming game against Bedford. On the first drive of the game, quarterback Tyson Edmonson threw an interception and Bedford’s Joey Nagle returned it for a touchdown. The game only got worse after that, as Bedford went up 21-0 midway through the first half. A Huron touchdown in the second quarter gave fans reason to cheer, but at halftime the score was 28-7. After a halftime rain delay the crowd thinned out and Huron limped to a 42-7 final.
This game, along with the subsequent 47-14 blowout loss against arch rival Pioneer — their 18th straight loss in the series — and a 30-0 loss against Monroe, are clear examples of how things have gone for Huron Football recently. But, even before this season, Huron’s athletic director Tony Whiren hired Antwain Mack as Huron’s sixth head coach in eight years.
“I love his drive, his background, his passion,” Whiren said about Mack in an MLive article X’s and O’s and he before the season. “He’s young, he brings X’s and O’s and he brings motivation.”
As the rain pattered down on, Skyline took the field against their in-town rivals Pioneer. Skyline looked to turn their season around with a big win away at Hollway field.
Skyline so far had a disappointing start to the season, with 3 losses coming from Okemos, Pinckney and Bedford. Skyline on average is losing by 34 points each game this season.
The game began with a scoreless first half, but Pioneer struck first by halftime with a touchdown and a field goal. Score at half: 10-0.
In the second half, Pioneer starts the third quarter with a touchdown and a missed extra point. Skyline rallies in the final minutes of the third quarter for a touchdown. Skyline successfully converted for the extra two points. On the resulting kickoff, Pioneer returns for a touchdown. End of the third, score is 23-8.
Skyline answers back in the fourth with a touchdown, but they fail to complete the two-point conversion. Before the end of the game, Pioneer scores once again, ending the game at 29-14.
Although it was not the win they were looking for, Skyline held Pioneer to a much closer game. Hopefully this game marks the beginning of an upward trajectory for the rest of this season.