Just like last week, Pontiac had a great first half. Just like last week, the second half was not so pleasant. And just like last week, the Indians left the field victorious.
    This time, it was a 20-10 win over Tolono (Unity) at Williamson Field on a night that honored the 1993 Class 3A state champions, many of whom were on hand.
    “We have to figure out second halves. This is the same story as last week,” PTHS head coach Alan Kuchefski said. “We just aren’t able to move the ball offensively.”
    Part of the reason for not moving the ball in the second half was not having the ball in the second half. The Indians had the ball three times with three three-and-out possessions before getting the ball at the Unity 37 yards line with 2:18 left in the game. That came courtesy of a Keegan DeLong interception.
    Although things seemed critical, Pontiac was still in the driver’s seat despite letting Unity control the clock. The reason was the 20-3 halftime lead the Tribe built up. So, when the Rockets ran 43 plays and only managed one score, the defense did its job.
    “It’s funny, it’s hard to criticize them because they bent a lot but they really didn’t break,” Kuchefski said. “At the same time, life would have been a lot easier had we been more disciplined and not have all those 15-yard penalties.”
    Yes, one of those drives saw Unity convert three fourth-down situations, two by way of PTHS penalties.
    Also, Pontiac’s offense was limited in the second half. The Indians got the ball for the first time at their own 3 yard line. Austin Norman picked up eight yards on third down but came up a yard short.
    The Indians opted to punt on fourth-and-one at the Unity 48. The third possession started at the PTHS 20 after a missed field goal by the Rockets.
    Then came DeLong’s pick late.
    “I’ve got to figure out what we can do differently; we can’t keep doing this,” Kuchefski said. “That first half, he ran really well.”
    Pontiac did run the ball well in the first half. And like last week, the Indians got rolling after their first possession.
    Getting the ball at its 29 yard line, Pontiac relied a large dose of Norman. After a three-yard loss on a keeper by Ben Schuler, Norman got the ball six straight times as the Tribe moved to the Unity 45 yard line.
    Something was noticed on the PTHS sideline that became key later in the drive. Facing second-and-goal at the Unity 10, the Indians went with a fullback trap and Gavin Bauknecht blasted his into the end zone for the touchdown.
    “What was nice was our offensive line coach, Ryan Abraham, pointed out to me that the trap was going to be there,” Kuchefski said. “That was our first touchdown and we had a lot of success with that the rest of the first half.
    “Gavin ran the ball hard. Our quarterback and tailback have to do a good job of carrying out the option to keep some of the defenders off Gavin.”
    Carter Dawson added the conversion kick and Pontiac, which spotted Unity a field goal, led 7-3 with 10:58 to go in the second quarter.
    “The fullback trap killed us,” Unity head coach Scott Hamilton said. “You put your eggs in trying to stop 27 (Norman), but … we knew he’s (Bauknecht) a good player, we knew what they tried to do. It’s a learning curve for a lot of kids.”
    That fullback trap was key later in the period. Bauknecht capped a 51-yard drive with a 20-yard burst through the middle for his second TD of the night. This came with 3:22 left in the half and gave the Tribe, with Dawson’s conversion kick, a 20-3 lead.
    In between came a nice pass play from Schuler to Colton Clesson for a score. The passing was key because of the need to keep the Unity defense honest. Kuchefski pointed out earlier in the week that it was important to be effective through the air.
    Blaine Steidinger recovered a fumble for the Indians at the Unity 38 with 7:35 left in the half. Norman went off the right side for eight yards before Schuler hit Clesson down the seam for 30 yards and the Tribe’s second score of the night.
    “That’s an awfully talented Pontiac team, their physical,” Hamilton said.
    Pontiac (2-0) gained 215 yards of offense, of which 179 came in the first half. Bauknecht led the ground attack with 96 yards and two TDs on 11 trips. Norman added 82 yards on 20 carries. Schuler connected on one pass for 30 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception that ended Pontiac’s first possession.
    Unity (0-2) had 268 yards of offense, with 266 coming in the second half. Quarterback Evan Miebach rushed for 35 yards and was 13 of 30 passing for 217 yards and an interception.
    The Rockets’ touchdown came on a 1-yard plunge from Nate Reinhart with 29 seconds left in the third period.
    For as much as the Pontiac defense was on the field, the Indians still managed to come up with some nice plays. Steidinger recovered a fumble, DeLong had an interception, Austin Waldschmidt collected two sacks and Steven Lewis, DeLong and Peyton Cramer combined for a sack.
    Pontiac will hit the road the next two weeks. Next week is a battle in Chillicothe and then a much-anticipated battle with Livingston County rival Prairie Central on Sept. 14.