Stow, Thompson, Pike lead Pacers to Homecoming win, 48-20

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It was everything that a high school football fan could ask for.

On Friday night, in front of a raucous Homecoming crowd, the Switzerland County Pacer varsity football team jumped in front of their guests from Oldenburg Academy by a 19-0 county; then saw the Twisters respond with a run of 20 straight points to take a lead before the Pacers took firm control, scored 29 unanswered points, and earned the win by a final score of 48-20.

The game featured a powerful and balanced offense, and Pacer quarterback Casper Stow threw for a career high 196 yards; senior wide receiver Will Pike hauled in a total of 168 of those yards; and tailback Jonny Thompson again proved to be nearly unstoppable, rushing for 191 yards.

The win pushed Switzerland County’s overall record to 3-2, and the Pacers remained perfect in the Mid Indiana Football Conference with a 2-0 mark.

Switzerland County took the opening kickoff back to the 30 yard line, and on the first play from scrimmage, Thompson ripped off a 31-yard bolt that got the Pacers rolling early. Switzerland County couldn’t sustain the momentum, however, and turned the ball over on downs.

Oldenburg couldn’t make any offensive headway, either, moving to the Pacer 39 yard line before failing on a fourth down conversion.

Switzerland County’s second drive was a display of power football, with Thompson scoring on a two-yard run with 5:21 to go in the first. Kyle Whitham kicked the extra point, and the Pacers were in front, 7-0.

Again Oldenburg went on offense, and this time the Twisters got to midfield before their drive stalled, again handing possession back to Switzerland County. The Pacers again relied on their power run game, with the trio of Thompson, Whitham, and Trystan Kielbasa moving down to the Twister one yard line as the quarter came to an end.

The second quarter opened with Stow taking the quarterback keeper over for another touchdown, but the PAT failed, and Switzerland County held a 13-0 advantage.

The Oldenburg offense couldn’t get anything moving against the stout Pacer defense, and after the Twisters again turned it over on downs, Stow connected on a 71-yard strike to Pike that pushed the lead up to 19-0 after the failed PAT with 8:53 remaining in the half.

The Twisters finally got on the scoreboard with 5:31 to go in the half when halfback Branson Schonfeld threw a touchdown pass to Mike Wandstrat. Oldenburg’s PAT was good, and the Switzerland County lead was cut to 12.

Pacer Cameron Niswander returned the ensuing kickoff back to midfield and it appeared that the Switzerland County offense was back in business, but the Pacers couldn’t mount a sustained drive and handed possession back to Oldenburg.

The Twisters again went on a march, threatening again to score before Pacer Justice Bledsoe stepped in front of a Owen Sporleder pass, making the interception at the five yard line and stopping the drive. The Switzerland County offense then took a knee, ending the half with the Pacers in front, 19-7.

The Twisters received the ball to begin the second half, and Oldenburg quickly moved downfield; and Wandstrat capped that by hauling in a 46-yard pass from Sporleder with 10:44 left in the third, and after the PAT was good, Switzerland County found themselves up by just five points, 19-14.

The Pacers were forced to punt on their first possession of the third quarter; and after Oldenburg took possession on their own 20, again the Twisters moved the ball downfield. With 8:10 to go, Sporleder connected on a 32-yard pass to Matthew Sedler. The PAT was no good, but suddenly Switzerland County found itself down by one, 20-19.

Another promising Pacer drive came to a sudden end when Oldenburg recovered a fumble; but again the Switzerland County defense held strong, forcing Oldenburg to punt with 2:45 left in the third, giving the Pacers the ball on their own 31 yard line.

Moments later, Stow showed off his passing skills again, connecting for a second time with Pike, this one a 76 yard bomb that brought the huge Switzerland County crowd to its feet. Pike then ran in the two-point conversion, and with just under two minutes to play in the quarter, the Pacers were back in front, 27-20.

It looked like Oldenburg would hold possession until the end of the third quarter, but the Switzerland County defense was strong, forcing another punt near the end of the period.

It didn’t take long for the Pacers to capitalize, as Thompson took the handoff and raced 53 yards for another touchdown. The PAT failed, and the quarter ended with Switzerland County in front, 33-20.

Oldenburg tried to get something going as the final quarter got underway, but Pacer lineman Justin Green tipped a pass on his rush and then hauled it in for an interception, rumbling down to the Twister 20 yard line before being pushed out of bounds.

Again it didn’t take long for the Pacers to pounce, as Pike took the handoff on the reverse and sprinted to the end zone for another touchdown. Stow then connected with Pike on the two-point conversion pass to extend the lead to 41-20 with 10:37 to go.

Desperate for points, Oldenburg couldn’t make its way through the Pacer defense, again turning possession over on downs after a failed fourth down attempt.

Switzerland County was running the clock when Stow dropped back and connected with Niswander on a 28 yard pass with 5:50 to go, sealing the Homecoming win after Whitham was good with his PAT kick.

The remainder of the contest was Oldenburg fighting to score against a Switzerland County defensive wall; and the Pacers simply running out the clock.

Final score: Switzerland County 48, Oldenburg Academy 20.

Stow had an incredible night throwing the football, going just 5-for-7 but tallying 196 yards and four touchdowns.

Pike led the receivers with four receptions for 168 yards and three scores; while Niswander had a 28-yard reception.

On the ground, Thompson continued to overpower opponents, turning 23 attempts into 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kielbasa had 29 yards rushing; and Whitham added 10.

Defensively, Kielbasa led the way with four tackles and one assist, including one tackle for a loss; while Isaac Slover, Pike, and Green each were credited with three tackles.

Dakota Baatz, Cade Rider, Brad Rickett, Dalton Roark and Stow had two tackles each; and Cody Wilson added a sack.

The Pacers are off on a bye week this week; but return to action on Friday, September 30th at home against South Decatur. North Decatur then visits on Friday, October 7th; and then Switzerland County wraps up its regular season on Friday, October 14th with a trip to Milan.

The Sectional is set to begin on Friday, October 21st.