|Pioneers Playing the Waiting Game
|10/11/2012 - by Andy Foltz|
I've known Jeff Marksberry for as long as he's been coaching football at Simon Kenton. Over the past 13 seasons, I've witnessed him in a variety of moods.
I remember seeing him proud of his players for what they've done off the field or in the classroom.
I've seen him laugh at a joke, angry over a turnover or missed assignment, and down in the dumps over things on and off the field.
I've never seen him at a loss for words the way I did after the Pioneers lost to Dixie 21-15 Thursday night. The loss was only the second of the year for Simon Kenton, but both losses were in District.
"I have no idea what this does to us," he said. His team defeated Boone County and Ryle, but has lost to Dixie and Campbell County. Campbell, at 2-0 going into their game with Ryle tonight, is in the driver's seat for the 6A district title.
Simon Kenton will participate in the playoffs this year. Even if the district ends up in a congealed mess with all five teams 2-2, they own enough tiebreakers to play. Who the Pioneers play and where will then become the questions.
"We'd like to play at home, but we will still play," Marksberry said.
In 2008, Marksberry led the Pioneers on an improbable run late in the season, which included four straight road playoff wins. They went to the state finals in 6A before falling to a powerful Louisville Trinity team. Could this year's team, which is 7-2 overall, go on a similar run?
They would have to avoid the mistakes that cost them the Dixie game.
"It was a combination of things," Marksberry said. "We turned the ball over early and gave Dixie the momentum. We missed tackles and had wide open guys drop the ball."
"You have to give Dixie credit," he added. "They've been getting better every week, and it shows." The Colonels improved to 1-2 in District play with a key match-up against Ryle next week.
If the Pioneers are to progress this season, they will do so behind junior quarterback Brenan Kuntz. Kuntz has thrown for over 1,700 yards this season and 17 touchdowns.
"I've been very pleased with his progress," Marksberry said.
Junior Grant Wassom, who has 36 catches for 588 yards and five touchdowns this season, leads the receiving corps. Jacob Huesman, Andrew Sampson and Lars McEntyre are all also in double-digit receptions. Sampson, a hard-nosed senior running back, has over 650 yards rushing this year to go with 11 touchdowns.
The ball-hawking Pioneer defense is led by leading tackler Jared Bowling, a senior linebacker, and junior safety Chase Wilson, who has five interceptions this season.
The Pioneers have a bye next week, then travel to Scott County the following week for a final tune-up before the playoffs begin.