Saline Runs Past Pioneer in Playoff Opener
It is usually the Saline passing game that gets everyone’s attention, but Friday night it was the Hornets running game that was in the spotlight during the Hornets 56-14 rout of Ann Arbor Pioneer in the Division 1 district opener.
Saline rushed for 216 yards and six touchdowns on the night, led by sophomore James Rush with 128 yards and four TD’s.
Pioneer came out quick and drove 80 yards and scored on a two-yard pass on fourth down to take a 7-0 lead.
The Pioneer defense came up big on the Hornets first drive, but Saline surprised everyone with a fake punt on 4th and 13 from its own 38 and would convert on a 30 yard run by Rush.
Just a few plays later Rush would bust across from nine yards out to tie the game at 7-7.
The Hornet defense forced a punt and Saline would drive down and rush found pay dirt from a yard out for a 14-7 lead.
After another stop by the Hornets defense, LaDanian Wood ran one in from nine yards out to make it 21-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Pioneer defender let the ball go over his head thinking it would go into the end zone, but it did not, and the Hornets recovered at the six yard line. Just one play later CJ Carr hit Dylan Mesman and the Hornets scored two touchdowns in six seconds and took a commanding 28-8 lead.
Saline would add one more score before the half when Carr hit Caid Fox with an 11-ard TD pass and the Hornets lead grew to 35-7 at halftime.
A pair of TD runs in the third quarter by Rush pushed the Saline lead to 49-7 and a running clock in the second half.
Zain Issa would score on a one yard out in the fourth before Pioneer scored a late touchdown to make the final 56-14.
Carr finished 17-20 passing for 200 yards and two scores, while Tommy Carr was 5-5 for 47 yards.
Wood rushed for 46 yards and a score and Issa 13 yards and a TD.
Ten different Hornets caught passes on the night with Fox catching seven for 97 yards and a score. Mesman caught four for 42 and a score, Josh Folk three for 36, Rush one for 17, and Jaiden Leonard two for 12.
The Hornets improved to 9-1 on the season and have a tough draw next week when they travel to top-ranked and two-time defending state champion Belleville Saturday at 1:00 pm.
Photos by Mike Williamson