It just didn't seem right for Boonville's dream season to end.
The ninth-ranked Pioneers, who just finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1955, was defeated by the eighth-ranked Central Bears in last Friday's 4A sectional champion by the score of 49-20.
Played at the Bears Central Stadium, the game was never really close as Central dominated the game with its defense and speed.
"They can run the ball, they can throw the ball, they're physical on defense," Pioneers coach Darin Ward said. "They got great team speed. They're going to go a long way in the tournament. I wouldn't be surprised to see them in Lucas Oil (for the state championship)."
Perhaps the Pioneers first-round sectional game against Bosse was a precursor of things to come. The Bosse Bulldogs, who only won two games all year, had Boonville on the ropes two weeks ago being up against the Pioneers by as much as 21 before Boonville made their comeback.
Boonville appeared to be not ready for the Bulldogs' speed in that game. The Bears, who are a much quicker team than the Bulldogs, dominated the game with
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their quickness and their defense took care of the rest.
The Pioneers were able to keep things close in the first quarter. While Boonville was unable to score, they prevented Central from getting on the board early thanks to an interception by Luke Conner at the 7:42 mark in the quarter. It would be the Bears first pass attempt by either team.
The interception put the Pioneers in bad field position as they got the ball at the 5-yard line. Boonville wasn't able to get the ball out of the area and Central got the ball back with good field position after the Pioneers were forced to punt.
The Bears would score their first touchdown of the game on the next drive as running back Brennan Schutte would go in for the score from the 15-yard line.
The Bears would start to pull away from the second quarter.
Quarterback Brennon Harper would rush the ball into the end zone to get things started in the quarter. The score was still relatively close at this point. The play of the quarter occurred right after the midway point.
On fourth down, Central decided to go for it and get the ball past the first down marker. The gamble paid off and Harper would find Malcolm Depriest for a 32-yard pass. Harper would eventually score on the drive on another quarterback keeper from the 4-yard line.
Things didn't get any better in the third quarter. Already trailing 28-0, Depriest would run the ensuing kickoff to start the half 82 yards for a touchdown. The Pioneers would score three touchdowns of their own in the half but it was too late as the Bears will now move onto play in this week's Regional against East Central.
For Pioneers players, fans, and coaches, it will be a season to remember.
"This establishes us as one of the top teams to come through Boonville," Ward said. "Winning the outright championship which has never been done in the Big 8..It shows the type of team we had. Hopefully, with the kids we have coming back we can get back here and compete a little bit better."