The Pacers showed plenty of pride, but the Pioneers’ championship pedigree prevailed as they rode standout running back Brandon Schoen to a 47-21 OCC-Capital Division win Friday in Delaware.
With the win, Orange earned a share of the league title and all but locked up a playoff spot in the process.
The game was tight early, but, already up 7-0 thanks to a first-quarter touchdown, the Pioneers broke things open in the second quarter as Schoen capped a steady drive with a six-yard TD run. The extra point missed, making it a 13-0 game with 9:32 left until the half.
After the Pioneers made a stop on defense, turning the ball over on downs to give the offense the ball at the Pacer 40-yard line, Schoen picked up where he left off on the previous possession, converting a fourth-and-seven play with a 10-yard run before scoring again, this time from 16 yards out to make it a 20-0 game with 5:36 to go until the break.
Looking to put the game out of reach early, Orange attempted an onside kick — and recovered — allowing the offense to set up shop near midfield. After a holding call put the Pioneers in a hole on first down, Schoen picked up 16 yards on a toss sweep, Michael Forbes moved the ball to the 17 with a powerful run of his own and Luke Wolford set up a first-and-goal play with a seven-yard scamper.
One play later, Orange was in the end zone thanks to quarterback Kofi Hill, who found a wide-open Taylor Hardy from seven yards out to balloon the cushion to 27-0.
Down, but not out, Hayes authored its best offensive series of the night right before half. Quarterback Josh Bender started with a nice 13-yard keeper to get things rolling, then hit Zack Parsons on a short slant and connected with C.J. Wade on a screen pass to push the ball into Orange territory.
Bender was sacked on back-to-back plays to set up a fourth-and-15, seemingly ending the drive, but Rafeld, who replaced Bender after he was shaken up on the second sack, hit Wade for a big gain to move the chains. A pass to Parsons then moved the ball to the 26, a Rafeld keeper pushed it to the 11 and, with just a single second left before halftime, he hit Ethan Nichol on a quick slant for an 11-yard touchdown, making it a 27-7 game.
The Pioneers started fast in the third, recovering an onside kick attempt by the Pacers before Schoen scored yet another touchdown — a screen pass from Hill he took down the sideline from 49-yards out.
Hill capped the squad’s next series with a 10-yard TD run, making it a 40-7 game with 3:56 left in the third, and Schoen capped his team’s scoring with another TD — a 24-yard run with 4:48 to go in the game.
Hayes’ final two scores came in the fourth, when Rafeld hit Wade from nine yards out with 11:13 to go, and Jeremy Hunt ripped off a big run, scoring from 51 yards out with 5:37 remaining in the contest.