Kevin Lanning connected on a 20-yard field goal to pull the visiting Eagles within a point, 7-6 with 1:54 left in the first half, but the Pioneers answered in a hurry and held on for a solid 28-21 non-league win Friday in Lewis Center.
Orange (1-1) bumped the margin up to eight when quarterback J.D. Dayhuff found Emerson Milner from 17 yards out to make it a 14-6 game less than a minute later. A 50-yard kickoff return by Jayden Rodgers set up the score and, well, the Pioneers never looked back.
Dayhuff found Zach Harrison for a 21-yard scoring strike early in the third, ballooning the Orange advantage to 21-6 before Dayhuff used his legs to add to the edge, scoring on a 77-yard run to make it 28-6 with 5:24 left in the quarter.
Garrett Runyon opened the Pioneers’ scoring summary with a 53-yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the first quarter.
Watterson (0-2) battled back late. Will Davis found Nick Geisler for a 20-yard TD connection, the Eagles’ first touchdown of the season, and the visitors added the two-point conversion on a Cole Andrews run to make it a 28-14 game with 38 seconds left in the third.
Andrews plowed into the end zone from a yard out midway through the fourth to make it a one-possession game, but the Pioneers held on from there.
Dayhuff had another efficient game, completing nine of his 13 passes for 79 yards and two TDs. He also rushed five times for 77 yards.
Jimmy Sensibaugh led Orange’s defense with 10 tackles while Christian Albertini had a sack.