Pi­o­neers can’t keep up with Jags

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Chuck Smith For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

CON­CORD >> Af­ter last week’s high in­ten­sity win over Spring­field, it was a rea­son­able pos­si­bil­ity that Gar­net Val­ley would en­ter its game against Con­estoga a lit­tle flat, maybe even primed for a bit of a let­down.

The Jaguars, how­ever, en­dured no such lapse, storm­ing to a 42-7 vic­tory over the Pi­o­neers. The vic­tory was made pos­si­ble by an im­pres­sive firsthalf ef­fort by power backs Austin Pat­ton and Matthew Las­sik, along with an ab­so­lutely suf­fo­cat­ing de­fen­sive ef­fort.

“Those guys have been great for us all year,” Jaguars coach Mike Ricci said of the two run­ning backs. “We have some guys banged up and we re­ally didn’t miss a beat. Those guys stepped in and ex­e­cuted like we knew they were ca­pa­ble of. Our line did a great job of open­ing holes for them, and (quar­ter­back Nick) Ju­liano did a good job mak­ing the reads. We re­ally feel like we have a sta­ble full of backs that can carry the ball for us when we need them to.”

While Pat­ton and Las­sik may not have en­joyed the ac­claim of other Jags run­ning backs thus far, they’ve been key con­trib­u­tors all sea­son.

“We weren’t sure if (Ja­cob) But­ter­more was go­ing to play or not, so I got fo­cused and was go­ing to be ready to start,” said Pat­ton, who rushed for 104 yards on 10 car­ries and scored two firsthalf touch­downs. “I could not have done it with­out the oline. With­out them, I wouldn’t be any­thing.”

For the Pi­o­neers, it was the end of a roller-coaster year, which started with great un­cer­tainty af­ter a tu­mul­tuous off­sea­son due to an off-the-field in­ci­dent and coach­ing changes. Even­tu­ally, though, Con­estoga saw the build­ing blocks for the fu­ture start to be set.

“This team had a heavy bur­den on it com­ing into the sea­son, but they were tough, fought through ad­ver­sity, and showed a lot of char­ac­ter and de­ter­mi­na­tion,” said Pi­o­neers coach Mar­quis Weeks, whose team fell to 2-8.

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