Huge First Half Lifts Pioneers to Victory
(Wilkes-Barre) The Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Pioneers put on a strong defensive show at the Wachovia Arena Saturday night in front of a crowd of 4,718.
QB Ryan Vena and his powerful Pioneer offense hit the field hard and the Thunder even harder. Vena connected with WR Irving Campbell after one play of offense for a 43-yard touchdown pass to put the Pioneers up 7-0 with 13:46 on the clock. The Mahoning Valley Thunder couldn't get their offense in gear and had to settle for a 38-yard Derek Schorejs field goal. That would be the end of the first quarter scoring by the Thunder.
After completion from Vena to WR Rich Musinski, and the exchange of penalties by both teams, Vena would look to Musinski again for a 28-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing kickoff, Thunder returner Quorey Payne would fumble the kick after it hit the net and Pioneers DB LaBrose Hedgemon would recover on the Mahoning Valley 1-yard line. The Pioneers offense would take the field and allow FB Kirby Griffin to take it in from the 1, leaving a trail of Thunder defenders behind him.
The Thunder would have another unsuccessful series and give the ball back to Vena and his deadly offense. After completing a pass to Campbell, Vena would connected with WR Larry Kendrick on a screen pass allowing Kendrick to split the Thunder defense for a 30-yard touchdown, which would end up being the last score in the first quarter with the score 28-3.
The second quarter would be too promising for Mahoning Valley as they started it off with another series resulting in no points. The Pioneers' offense would only need 1-play to reach the end zone again. Griffin would take the 6-yard Vena pass and turn it into some points once again. The Thunder would score their first touchdown of the night with 12:14 in the 2nd quarter when QB Blake Powers would connect with Quorey Payne for a 39-yard pass. But Vena and Musinski would answer with a 21-yard touchdown pass making the score 42-10. Both offense would score again making the score 49-17, but defensive big man Troy Blackwell would recover the Powers fumble and return it 2-yards for the Pioneers' first defensive touchdown of the night. Royce Morgan would recover the Thunder's second fumble of the night and K David Davis would miss his first field of the season sending the game to half time.
The second half would end up being just as bad as the first for Mahoning Valley as they would allow the Pioneers to punish both their offense and defense. After another great Vena to Musinski touchdown completion, Payne would return the kickoff the length of the field for the Mahoning Valley score. The Pioneers would take over again and Vena would cap a 4-play, 41-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. Payne would answer with another touchdown on the night but would be out-done, as Rich Musinski would haul in a 39-yard one-handed touchdown pass, which would end up being "The Big Catch of the Game."
The Pioneers would have to settle for a Davis 23-yard FG for their last score of the night with 11:41 left in the game. Payne would reach the end zone on more time making the final score 80-43. But the men of the night would be the WBS Pioneers who would capture their third victory of the season.
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