Junior Jack Kiser ran for three scores and passed for two more leading top-ranked Pioneer to a 42-14 victory over No. 5 Eastern Greene in the Class 1A State Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The win marked the school’s second football state championship and occurred 20 years after its first team. Both this year’s team and that 1997 squad finished a perfect 15-0.
Kiser ran for 207 yards total and passed for 111 more to lead the Panthers. Danny Gregorich added 88 yards and a score on nine carries and a touchdown.
Quarterback Caleb Hamilton, who finished with 151 yards and two touchdowns, put Eastern Greene on top on their first possession scoring on a 13 yard running play for a 7-0 lead.
Pioneer answered on the team’s next possession as Kiser plunged in from 2 yards away to tie game 7-7.
Kiser scored his second touchdown on another from 2 yards away giving the Panthers a 14-7 advantage with 10:06 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers connected again on a Kiser to Miles Von Toble from 10 yards with 6:16 left in the second quarter. Kiser then found Ezra Lewellen for an 18 yard score with :05 left before halftime. The score was set up on the previous play with the pair connected on a 57 yards pass play.
Kiser scored his third touchdown of the day on a 53 yard rush up the middle with 2:59 left in the third increasing the lead to 35-7.
Hamilton added his second score for Eastern Greene with a 14 yard touchdown cutting the lead to 35-14 with 5:33 left.
Pioneer added a final touchdown as Gregorich scored on a 30 yard carry with 3:33 left in the game. In all, the Panthers scored on six of their eight drives on the day.
Adam Berry is the second year Pioneer coach and is 29-1 in his first two seasons in charge. Joey Paridaen, in his fourth year at Eastern Greene and sixth year overall, guided the Thunderbirds to their first berth in a football state championship game.