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High School Football: Eden earns division title with big win at Pioneer

Matt Bialy and Eden pulled out a 22-20 win at Pioneer. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)

In the biggest game of the division season and playing without its top playmaker, Eden rose to the occasion and pulled off an upset on the road.

The Raiders won Class B South and may have rescued their playoff prospects with a 22-20 win at defending division champion Pioneer. After the first-place battle, Eden improved to 5-1 while Pioneer fell to 4-2.

Junior Joe Tripi led an Eden rushing attack that accounted for 238 yards. He ran 18 times for 91 yards, including a six-yard touchdown, and also caught an 11-yard score from classmate Nick Sarratori. Senior Brady Bermingham added 26 yards on four carries and wound up scoring the game-winning touchdown from one-yard out. He added 38 yards on two catches.

The two saw their roles increase with leading rusher Alex Smythe missing a second straight game due to an illness. Last week, the Raiders lost their first game of the season, 28-14 to Olean. Also for Eden, fullbacks Kyle Wagner and Garrett DiStefano each ran six times for 55 and 26 yards, respectively.

Tripi’s score on the ground in the first quarter was sandwiched in between a pair of Pioneer touchdowns, each in the first two quarters, which had Eden trailing 13-7. The Raiders took their first lead of the game in the third quarter when after Sarratori hit Tripi in the end zone, senior Matt Bialy connected with tight end Jon Lyndsley for the two-point conversion. Eden led 14-13.

The Raiders extended that lead to 22-13 when Bermingham scored and then Sarratori hit Connor Gallivan for a successful two-point play. The conversion made it a two score game. Pioneer scored on a short run later in the fourth quarter, but Eden held on to the lead.

Sarratori, who operates mostly in the shot gun package for Eden, also ran for 34 yards on nine carries. Bialy, the starter behind center, connected on 7 of 9 passes for 79 yards. Lyndsley led the defense with nine tackles.

Eden will play its regular season finale at home against Southwestern on Saturday before hosting a first round playoff game the next week.

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