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Gambles pay off as Pioneers top Rancho

Twice facing fourth-and-forever, Canyon Springs didn’t blink in going for it either time.

Fortune favored the bold Friday night, as the Pioneers scored touchdowns on both plays on their way to a 42-14 home victory over Rancho.

The win allowed Canyon Springs (3-2, 3-0 Northeast) to remain in a first-place tie with Las Vegas in the Northeast League.

Donnel Pumphrey compiled 193 total yards and three touchdowns for Canyon Springs. Quarterbacks Jamaal Martin and D’Vante Howard combined to throw for 217 yards and four TDs.

The Pioneers took their first risk on their opening drive, passing on a 35-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-18 from the Rancho 19-yard line. Martin fired a strike to the middle of the end zone to Michael Gayden for the touchdown.

Canyon Springs took an even bigger chance the second time. After advancing to the Rancho 4 late in the second quarter, penalties and a sack moved the Pioneers back 31 yards.

They went for it on fourth-and-goal from the Rancho 35, and it paid off when Chayson Lawson outjumped two Rams in the front of the end zone to catch D’Vante Howard’s jump-ball toss, giving Canyon Springs a 21-7 lead.

Canyon Springs also scored on a second-and-goal from the Rancho 23, as Pumphrey caught a short pass from Howard, juked a defender near the line of scrimmage and sprinted to the right corner of the end zone to salt away the game in the fourth quarter.

Pumhrey rushed for 147 yards on 19 carries, and James Jones added for 74 yards on six carries for Canyon Springs.

The Pioneers pulled away from Rancho (3-3, 2-1) in the second half, scoring 21 unanswered points and limiting the Rams to 97 yards of offense after halftime. Canyon Springs shut down Rancho’s only second-half threat when Stephon Revels intercepted Will Gosse-Gardet at the Pioneers’ 12 late in the third quarter.

Gosse-Gardet completed 6 of 17 passes for 46 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He rushed 12 times for 37 yards.

Shamel David led Rancho with 95 yards on 13 carries, including a 65-yard touchdown run on a draw up the middle in the second quarter. D’Andre Mason accounted for Rancho’s other score, pulling in a 4-yard scoring pass from Gosse-Gardet right before halftime.

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