The Clare Pioneers have had a two big weeks the last two weeks outscoring their opponents, 99-7. After falling to Freeland in week one, Clare has bounced back in a big way. It’s a team that passes the eye test, and they definitely did even with that week one loss to the Falcons by having the momentum for much of the game. 

Another test would be awaited tonight in Gladwin. That same Gladwin team who is the defending Division 5 State Champions. A team that has won now 17-straight games dating back to last season. A team that lost 13 starters from last season. But it hasn’t mattered, it’s a team that has outscored their first three opponents 116-48. They would show exactly who they are, and in a big way tonight. 

It would be Clare getting things rolling on this night. Quarterback Jayden Arthur would connect with Ryan Louch on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Camden Babcock PAT would make it a 7-0 game, Pioneers. Gladwin would be forced to a three and out on their first possession giving the ball right back to Clare. The Pioneers would look like they might have some things going on offense again but instead they would be forced to punt. A shanked punt would set the Flying G’s offense in great field possession. Gladwin would move the ball but the drive would stall setting up a Treyton Siegert 28-yard field goal. This would make it a 3-7 game, Pioneers after one. 

Gladwin would try and kick off the second quarter by getting the ball right back but a pooch kick would set the Clare offense up in solid field possession. The Pioneers offense would take full advantage. They would move the ball in a hurry and cap it off with a 15-yard scoring run by Aiden Van Bonn. The Pioneers would hold a 14-3 to that point. Gladwin would get the ball back but Louch would come up with a monumental interception that would set the Clare offense up inside the 20-yard line. In front of a packed house, the Pioneers crowd was in full force as Clare had all the momentum after an Arthur 8-yard touchdown run. This gave the Pioneers a 21-3 advantage to that point. Gladwin had a moment to decide if they were going to let it continue to happen or not. They would get themselves right back in the game and in a hurry. Quarterback Colton Pfenninger would throw an absolute dime to Jayden Mieske on a 33-yard pass. Gladwin found themselves right back in the game, 21-10. Gladwin would make a big time call on the next play on an onside kick and get the ball back with just seconds remaining. Jhace Massey would find Josh Leinenger on a 16-yard touchdown pass. All of a sudden we had ourselves a 16-21 at the half. 

Both defenses would settle in a bit early on in the third quarter. Clare would finally strike back on a 60-yard strike from Arthur to Jacob Halicek. This would push the Pioneers lead back to 28-16 with 5:15 left in the third. The Pioneers had a chance to take a stranglehold on the game yet again but forcing a Flying G’s punt but it couldn’t have gone more wrong for Clare. Swiping the leg of a Pioneers player would give the ball right back to Gladwin as they would recover the fumble. Gladwin would pay it off, as Massey found his way into the endzone from 15-yards away. Clare would hold the lead after three, 23-28. 

Clare looked to start the fourth and possibly put the game on ice but it would be denied. Facing a big fourth down, the Pioneers opted to go for it at midfield but Arthur was picked off by Braden Ritchie who returned it deep into Clare territory. That’s when Massey would get busy again. He would find space from 47-yards away and give Gladwin their first lead on the night, 31-28. Clare had a chance to respond, though. They would start to move the ball a bit but the nightmare second half would continue. Arthur would get picked off again to set the Flying G’s offense up. That’s when Donald Corlew III would all but put the game on ice finding daylight on a 46-yard touchdown run with just 3:09 remaining to give Gladwin a 37-28 advantage. Massey would grab an interception on the following Pioneers possession. Just to top it off he would then take the soul out of Clare and their crowd by adding another touchdown from 32-yards away. Gladwin shellshocks the Pioneers in the fourth to take the game, 44-28.  

Clare had their offense going for most of the game by piling up 363 yards on the night. Jayden Arthur finished the night with 161 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. He added 52 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Aidan Van Bonn carried the ball 10 times for 63 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Louch, who was banged up all night and showed some big time resiliency, finished with 4 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. He had a big interception in the first half for the Pioneers. 

The Gladwin offense finally got rolling to the tune of 376 yards on the night. Jhace Massey was a man possessed on the night. He led the Flying G’s with 2 passing touchdowns. He added 168 yards rushing on 17 carries and 3 touchdowns. To top it off he had a reception for 10 yards and a big interception late in the game. Donald Corlew finished with 44 yards rushing and a touchdown. He added 4 receptions for 36 yards.  

You couldn’t have asked for a better game. Both teams showed that they have the make up of teams that could make deep playoff runs. But on this night, Gladwin showed why they have now won 18-games in a row. Head Coach Marc Jarsfter couldn’t have been more proud of his team adding, “Unbelievable heart and mental toughness out of our team tonight. We talk about it (mental toughness) all the time and it showed up in a big way tonight. I’m extremely proud. We’ll enjoy this one a little extra”.  

Gladwin will improve to 4-0 on the season. They’ll take on a Sanford Meridian team who currently sits at 1-3 and is coming off a loss to Harrison. The Mustangs welcome in Gladwin next Friday night. 

This will be a tough one to swallow for Clare as they fall to 2-2 on the 2023 season. In both of the Pioneers losses they dominated for a majority of each game. Expect Clare to bounce back when they travel over to Harrison in week five to take on the Hornets.