It was a nice weekend for head coach Sean Sachen and the Leavenworth Pioneers as they picked up their first win of the season in comeback fashion over Basehor-Linwood Friday at home.
The win was the first of Sachen’s career as the Pioneers’ head coach and getting it against a well-regarded conference rival made it even sweeter. But with homecoming this week and Turner coming to Pioneer Stadium, Sachen’s biggest goal is keeping his team focused.
“I told the kids to enjoy over the weekend and I did too,” he said. “But at our meeting this morning, we put it to bed. Our theme this week is ‘focus’ because with homecoming this week there can be a lot of distractions and we need to keep our focus on this game.”
Leavenworth’s win came after they led 19-6 early in the first quarter, trailed 30-19 in the early minutes of the third quarter then scored 22 unanswered points to send a strong Bobcats squad home with their second loss of the season.
“It was a great effort from our kids all around,” Sachen said. “We have really worked with them on facing and handling adversity and they overcame it a lot in that game.”
The Pioneers converted on fourth down two times on three attempts and held the Bobcats to a one for six clip on fourth down. Both conversions came on fourth-and-10 where quarterback JoVaughn Darthard – who is known for his ability to run – made big throws to keep drives alive, both of which resulted in touchdowns. Darthard finished 10-of-15 with 219 yards and two touchdowns. He got his work in running the ball as well scoring two rushing touchdowns during the Pioneers’ second-half run.
Running back Jahawn Byrd racked up 212 total offensive yards and scored three touchdowns – two rushing, one receiving. Keenan Brown averaged 8.4 yards per carry on his nine carries for 76 yards.
For the Pioneers, the game was largely decided on defense where first-year starting defensive back Ross Brown intercepted Bobcats’ quarterback Chase Torkelson at the Leavenworth five-yard line. It was a play where the Bobcats had hit a rhythm driving down the field and looked poised to get in the end zone. Torkelson made a quick read and Brown got his hand out to tip the pass, making an acrobatic play in the process to come down with the pick.
Despite the strides the Pioneers made in Week 3, Sachen said they still have deficiencies to work on.
“On the defensive side of the ball we have to get better at things like not missing assignments and recognizing what we’re going up against each play,” he said.
Leavenworth’s homecoming game against Turner is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Stadium.