Pioneers extend Mounts’ skid

By on October 5, 2016
Sophomore running back Colton Goodman (5) maintains his balance behind the blocking of Brad Heck.
Sophomore running back Colton Goodman (5) maintains his balance behind the blocking of Brad Heck.

Sophomore running back Colton Goodman (5) maintains his balance behind the blocking of Brad Heck.

Doom, gloom and gallows humor may pervade the stands at War Memorial Field while the Mounts endure an epic losing streak, which they extended to 36 games in Friday night’s 56-14 loss; however, senior wide receiver Alex Rummel holds onto a realistic but hopeful attitude.

“I definitely like the direction things are going,” said Rummel following the game. “Everything’s going to take time. You’re not going to go out from a 0-10 season to having a 10-0 season. It takes time. We’re starting to get a little bit of confidence. It’s all coming together slowly. Every week, I see improvement.”

Rummel continued by saying the new coaching staff led by Kris Miller is helping the Mounts progress.

“We lost a lot of bigger guys (from 2015) but I think it’s not as noticeable because of the change in the coaching staff,” he said. “They are able to put the ball in (a) play maker’s hand and use them to the best of their ability.”

Miller holds a similar, tempered optimism about the team.

“We had a lot of strides but we have a long way to go,” he said. “Every week, we executed a little bit better and we’ve done more things correctly each day. (The coaching staff has) to continue to trust that we’re doing the right things and going the right way and (the team has) got to stick with it.”

The Pioneers, coming off a one-sided loss to Manheim Central, did not show any mercy through the first half as they dominated to gain a 35-0 half-time lead. Chad Gaudino scored three touchdowns on a punt return and two receptions from quarterback Todd Shelley. Shane Lawler had a run and a catch for his two touchdowns.

Rummel faced several tests to his optimism through the first half. First, his interception of a Shelley pass was ruled an incomplete pass. When asked if he caught the ball, Rummel replied, “Absolutely. I was a little upset with the call.”

The Pioneers scored on the drive.

He then had injury added to insult during the following kickoff with 40 seconds left in the half. Returning the kick to his 35-yard line, Rummel remained down after the play.

“It was my knee. It got twisted around,” he said.

He remained out of the game until late in the third quarter and initially doubted he’d return to the game.

Miller said that Rummel’s willingness to re-enter the game indicated his growth as a leader that the Mounts must develop.

“He’s come a long way and he is the kind of kid that wants to be on the field and with his teammates. That’s the kind of leaders we need,” he said.

While Rummel received treatment on the sideline, the Mounts used two big plays to avoid a shutout. Tyler Walton burst into the Pioneer backfield on the first play from scrimmage of the second half and recovered a fumble on the L-S 30. Dustin Fisher took a hand-off from the 27-yard line two plays later and was immediately hit separately by linebackers Jeff Elser and Joey Dreer run-blitzing through gaps. Fisher absorbed each hit, being knocked backwards both times but kept on his feet before breaking down the sideline for the Mounts’ first touchdown.

“It was going backwards first and then a crease opened up and I hit it,” recalled Fisher. “I was trying to stay optimistic and get as many yards as I could.”

“We were trying to figure out what happened, who missed a block and what was going on,” admitted Miller. “We thought he was dead to rights and (had) a five or ten-yard loss. Next thing we know, he’s scooting out for the endzone. That was a nice (example) about never quitting.”

QB Brendon Holbritter was stopped short of the endzone on the two-point attempt to set the score at 35-6.

The Pioneers scored twice before Rummel came back into action but his presence seemed to open up space for the Mounts offensively. Following a 19-yard Fisher run on first down, Rummel caught Holbritter’s pass by coming back to the ball for a 24 yard gain. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Holbritter lofted a pass to Rummel along the sideline for a leaping reception which Rummel ran into the end zone.

“The line’s been giving a good amount of time for the quarterback time to get the ball off the last couple of games,” said Rummel. “Brendan’s just having all day to put a perfect ball up there.”

After Fisher hauled in a pass for the two-point conversion, the Pioneers scored one more time in the fourth to set the final score.

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