LIONS POUND PIONEERS
Central Lyon/George-Little Rock rushes for 352 yards in 51-0 win over Okoboji
Okoboji played close with Central Lyon/George-Little Rock for one half, but a key injury led to a second-half rout, as the Lions downed the Pioneers 51-0 in Milford.
Pioneers quarterback Jacob Allen suffered a concussion while leading his squad to a 7-0 halftime deficit. Okoboji coach Jon Allen said third-string quarterback Dawon Goeke did his best, but the sophomore signal caller struggled to keep up with CL/GLR.
"We had a couple of key injuries that really shut some things down for us," Coach Allen said. "Jacob (Allen) went down with a concussion. A Central Lyon kid caught him from the backside. They threw a flag on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the damage was already done. He was out with a concussion for the rest of the game. That really hit us at a bad time because our backup quarterback Tyler Adams has been out with a strained collarbone. So we were down to our third-string quarterback, sophomore Dawon Goeke, who did his best but the playbook shrinks when you go down to your junior varsity quarterbacks. We struggled to move the ball. I don't think we had any positive yardage after that happened."
After struggling to run the ball through the first six games of the season, the Pioneers made a formation adjustment that paid dividends early on Friday night.
"To start off the game, we've struggled to run the ball, so we brought out the Emory & Henry (College) formation — kind of a tackle-wide look — and we started off great," Coach Allen said. "We threw a bubble to Cris (Halbur) and got some good blocking on the outside. We were able to move the ball and got some first downs. Things were going really well for us. Defensively, we made some stops. We just felt really good about how the game started. I told Max Bergesen, our coach up in the box who helps me with the offense, I just said, 'Max, we're going to win this game.' Everything felt great."
Without Allen under center, the Pioneers made one more good defensive stand before the floodgates opened.
"They scored a touchdown in the second quarter. We knew it was going to be tough the rest of the game," Coach Allen said. "We had to put some freshmen in some uncomfortable spots. We had to put Mason Vanderpol on an island at cornerback with a receiver that's a foot taller than him. Our kids played hard. We just couldn't stop them from running dive and counter. They controlled the box the rest of the night and controlled the line of scrimmage. Dawson did his best, but threw a pick six. We tried to run a couple of halfback passes and things like that just to get something going, but we really struggled to get any offensive production in the second half and we could not stop their run game."
The Lions, who entered Friday night's contest with just two wins, rushed for 352 yards while the Pioneers totaled just 27 yards from scrimmage in the loss.
"It's a team that their record doesn't reflect how good they are," Coach Allen said. "Their losses come to the best teams in the state. They're a big, physical football team that has a couple of kids who enjoy running in traffic and are good at it."
Defensively, the Pioneers were led by Jake Halbur, who totaled 11.5 tackles, four for loss.
"Jake continues to grow in his confidence as an outside linebacker," Coach Allen said. "He makes a lot of tackles for us. Our linebackers have been doing a good job of making tackles, but we need to do a better job of making tackles a little closer to the line of scrimmage. We're giving up a few more yards than we should, but we have some players that are starting to show us that they're learning what they've been taught and they're getting better and better as the season goes on. We're excited to see those players continue to grow and, hopefully, we can put it all together on Friday night."
Cain Hanson had eight tackles. Kyle Martin had 6.5 tackles and a tackle for loss. Luke Bossard had six tackles. Blake Peter had two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery for the Pioneers, who fell to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in district play.
They will return to action Friday against Sheldon (4-3, 1-2) in the final home game of the season.
"We've shown glimpses of what we could be. We struggle to consistently produce on offense and consistently make stops on defense," Coach Allen said. "We'll have a really good quarter, then it's like we run out of gas. If we put together four quarters, I feel like we can stick with either of these last two teams."