By PATRICK SLACK
The Pierz football team entered Friday’s home tilt with Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) coming off a game in which four turnovers and three empty trips inside the 5-yard line resulted in its first loss.
While the Pioneers allowed HLWW to hang in the game through the first half with four more turnovers, a relentless rushing attack eventually wore down the Lakers, resulting in a 47-20 win.
“Unfortunately turnovers happen and we worked on this and stressed ball security,” Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp said. “Hopefully this happens less and less. The kids rebounded from the loss and we got better from it.”
“Our defense really stepped up and allowed our offense to settle in and take control of the game,” he said. “(We) dominated the line of scrimmage tonight and really controlled the flow of the game. Our offensive line really opened some huge holes.”
The leading beneficiary of those holes was senior running back Josh Lanners.
Lanners found the end zone in each of the first two quarters, giving Pierz a 14-7 lead at the break.
He then broke free for a 52-yard touchdown scamper on the Pioneers’ opening drive of the third quarter, extending the gap to two possessions.
HLWW answered immediately on a 90-yard kickoff return, but Pierz scored the ensuing four touchdowns to put the game away.
Lanners finished the night with 234 rushing yards on 28 carries and four touchdowns and junior Nathan Athman added 111 yards and two scores on 19 carries.
Freshman Noah Boser gained 19 yards and scored the Pioneers’ closing touchdown, with senior Jon Fuhrman (40), sophomore Robbie Skiba (35), freshman Kolton Eischens (12), junior Brandon Sullivan (6), senior Ben Boser (3) and junior Evan Woitalla (2) also gaining positive yardage on the ground.
Senior Brady Dorn hauled in a 27-yard pass from Boser, senior Brent Stangl caught a 22-yard pass and senior T.J. Hoheisel had 11 receiving yards.
Senior Travis Johnson booted five successful extra points.
Defensively, Lanners made six solo tackles and assisted on two others, Skiba intercepted a pass and Lochner blocked a punt.
Pierz 47, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 20
HLWW 7 0 7 6 – 20
Pierz 7 7 20 13 – 47
PZ: Josh Lanners 15 run (Travis Johnson kick), 1:38.
HLWW: Egberg 73 pass from Buttruff (Buttruff kick), 0:41.
PZ: Lanners 1 run (Johnson kick), 4:24.
PZ: Lanners 52 run (Johnson kick), 10:59.
HLWW: Egberg 90 kickoff return (Buttruff kick), 10:41.
PZ: Lanners 2 run (Johnson kick), 7:47.
PZ: Nathan Athman 1 run (kick failed), 3:19.
PZ: Athman 21 run (Johnson kick), 9:20.
PZ: Noah Boser 2 run (run failed), 2:38.
HLWW: Gailey 61 pass from Smith (run failed), 1:46.
Pierz—Rushing: Josh Lanners, 28-234; Nathan Athman, 19-111; Jon Fuhrman, 9-40; Robbie Skiba, 4-35; Noah Boser, 4-19; Kolton Eischens, 1-12; Brandon Sullivan, 2-6; Ben Boser, 1-3; Evan Woitalla, 1-2. Passing: Ben Boser, 6-13, 68. Receiving: Brady Dorn, 1-27; Brent Stangl, 1-22; T.J. Hoheisel, 1-11; Fuhrman, 1-10. Defense: Lanners, 6 solo, 2 assists; Skiba, interception; Lochner, blocked punt.