Panthers bounce back, beat Smith Voke, 46-14 win
NORTHAMPTON — Pioneer Valley Regional School rebounded from two straight tough losses and returned to the win column with a 46-14 victory at first-year program and Tri-County League foe Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School Friday night.
The Panthers (4-3 overall, 4-2 TCL), who over the last two weeks were beaten soundly 64-6 by TCL rival Mohawk Trail High Regional School and 41-0 by Intercounty League-leading Turners Falls High School respectively, put it all behind them and played a solid, focused game.
“We had a good week of practice, and I felt we brought our practice game to Friday night. “ said Pioneer head coach Glenn Wilson “Cole Tognarelli played extremely well, and up front we gave him much better protection.”
It was indeed a very good night for junior quarterback Tognarelli, who threw for 146 yards and five touchdowns, and picked up another 129 yards on the ground. On the Panthers first possession of the game, it took only three plays for Tognarelli to find Jake Hale with a 36-yard scoring strike at the 7:35 mark of the first quarter, and Pioneer then took the lead to 8-0 when the two connected on the two point conversion.
After the Vikings (0-7, 0-7) ran a long and time consuming, 16-play drive that moved the ball but failed to put up points, Tognarelli was at it again, hitting Zach Lambert for a 43-yard score with 7:29 remaining in the half. The Pioneer defense then buckled down, forcing a three-and-out, taking the ball at their own 9 after the punt.
The Panthers marched down the field, featuring a 58-yard run by Tognarelli, with the drive culminating when Tognarelli hit Alex Tyson with an 8-yard scoring pass. The defense held, and the Panthers went into the break with a 24-0 lead.
The third quarter began with a 10-play, 56 yard drive for Pioneer, highlighted by a fourth-and-8 from the Vikings’ 18 yard line that saw Tognarelli throw his fourth touchdown and second on the night to Hale. The two-point conversion run failed, but the Panthers were up comfortably 30-0.
The Panthers finished their scoring with a 21-yard fourth quarter run by Joe Chase, and Tognarelli’s fifth touchdown of the night, a 31-yarder to Kyle Wheeler with 54 seconds left in the game.
The Vikings (0-7 overall, 0-7 TCL) played hard and put together a couple of scoring drives in the fourth quarter, largely due to the hard running of back Sam Duffy and quarterback Jared Pease. Pease scored both touchdowns for Smith Voke on runs of 4 and 33 yards respectively.
The five touchdowns by Tognarelli brought his season total to 20, with nine of those going to Hale.
“I was very pleased at how resilient this team is, and how they came back Monday and punched the clock.” said Wilson “It led to some great individual efforts by our team.” said Wilson.
Asked about the playoff picture for the Panthers, Wilson said “Right now it’s my understanding that we’re going to need some help from other teams. We need to go out and win next Saturday, but we do need some help if we’re going to see the postseason.”
Pioneer returns to action in another TCL matchup Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. at McCann Technical High in North Adams.