Rivalry preview: Pioneer, Huron playing for first win of the season

Throw out the records. Isn’t that what they say in rivalry games?

Well, both Pioneer and Huron will gladly oblige. Consider the records officially placed in the garbage can as the two Ann Arbor schools lineup for a Friday night showdown at 7 p.m. at Huron.

The Pioneers have opened against two elite teams and have been outscored 100-6 in their first two games. Opening with Muskegon and Detroit Jesuit was either bad scheduling or a great way to set up the regular season schedule in the tough SEC White Division. The answer will begin to be answered on Friday.

Huron lost a defensive battle 6-3 in week one to Detroit Southeastern. The River Rats lost 34-7 to visiting Williamston last week.

Something has to give on Friday when these two schools line up. And while we have already thrown out the records, it’s important to at least note that these two teams are better than their records.

Huron has a very young team and first-year coach Broderick Smith has seen big steps in his team’s first two games.
“We are seeing that these young men can compete,” Smith said. “They are just lacking some of the intangibles. It’s really just the little things.”

But those little things can add up to big things which adds up to costly mistakes. And then a bad bounce or a penalty at the wrong time and everything begins to snowball. And that’s what happened on Friday night to both Pioneer and Huron.

“We have a lot of good things happening here at Huron and we are excited about it,” Smith said. “We need to just keep working hard and get that first win under our belt.”

It’s going to get only tougher on the River Rats. After Pioneer, they face Saline (1-1), Monroe (1-1), Bedford (2-0), Skyline (1-1) and Chelsea (2-0) before finishing with Flat Rock, which improved to 2-0 with a big win Friday over Riverview.

Pioneer beat Huron 44-0 last year and 54-14 in 2015. The Pioneers have not lost to the River Rats since 2001 but Bill Bellers, also in his first year as a head varsity coach, isn’t taking anything for granted.

“This is a game we won’t have to do anything to get them up for,” he said. “They will be very excited to play this one. It’s a good rivalry game.”

Pioneer’s recipe for success?

“Just keep working hard and eliminate some of those costly mistakes,” he said.

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