Pioneers Lose 17-14 on Homecoming

Justin Valentovic, Staff Writer

The Pioneers two game winning streak came to an end when they lost to The College of New Jersey 17-14 at their Homecoming game on October 5th.

Even though the Pioneers have two wins on the season, they still remain win-less at home on the season. This game was their homecoming game, but it was also their first home game of the season since week one. Furthermore, it was their first game of NJAC conference play.

Coming into this game the Pioneers relied on their defense and run game to lead them to a win.

The Offense

The Pioneers backfield has two talented running backs in Marcel Mason, and Terrique Riddick. The pair lead the team in rushing yards with 121, but did not score. While Mason had 65 yards and the teams only offensive touchdown.

Since the Pioneers live by the run game, they also die by the run game. Late in the fourth quarter when the Pioneers were looking to win the game Mason fumbled the ball deep in TCNJ territory effectively ending the game.  The Pioneers had to depend on the run game much more then usual since freshmen quarterback George Crespo was struggling with the passing game.

Crespo finished the game with 124 yards passing, only completing nine passes and threw two interceptions. Another major issue for the Pioneers passing game was that only three receivers caught a pass in the game. Looking ahead the Pioneers need to be able to spread the ball out among more than just three receivers. That way Mason and Riddick do not have to carry the bulk of the offensive load.

The Defense

The strongest part of the team still remains to be the stout defensive unit, lead by several young play-makers.  Looking at the defense it it is borderline impossible to find a weakness between their lock-down secondary, and a strong line .

The D-line recorded four sacks, and also forced two fumbles. The front seven is lead by sophomore linebacker Brian King. King has done the impossible and seamlessly replaced long time linebacker Charles Faulkner. The leading tackler for the Pioneers was Andrew Anthony, recorded 11 total.

Along with the defensive line, is the equally important Pioneer’s secondary. As a unit they broke up five passes and picked off one. Two of the best rising stars for the Pioneers defense are Devyn Blount and Ra’Keem Bennett. Blount recorded the only interception for the Pioneers, while Bennett scooped up a fumble and bringing it all the way back for a touchdown.

Even though both defensive backs are absolutely shutdown in the pass game, they are also physical in helping the run game. Both of them combined for nine tackles.

The Pioneers defense has done their job throughout the season keeping the team in games, while also keeping them in winning situations. In order for the team to be able to take the next step they have to be able to pass the ball more effectively. The Pioneers next home game is Saturday when they host Wesley College at 1 p.m., at Wightman Stadium.