By PATRICK SLACK
Senior Josh Lanners was putting together another standout performance and the Pierz football’s team offense was rolling late against Eden Valley-Watkins (EVW), Friday.
Still, the visiting Eagles had remained within a touchdown at 34-27 and had the ball back midway through the fourth quarter after making a fourth-down stop.
On the very next play, though, after having already allowed 200 passing yards against, senior Ben Boser darted in front of a pass for an interception, as the Pioneers scored two game-sealing touchdowns to earn a 47-27 homecoming win.
Lanners had a massive game on the ground, piling up 290 yards and six touchdowns on 38 carries while also catching a 12-yard pass.
Junior fullback Nathan Athman, along with the Pierz offensive line of seniors Travis Johnson, Cody Meyer, Nick Lochner and Mitch Hasert and junior Curtis Brisk and senior tight ends Brady Dorn, Brad Meyer and Brent Stangl, helped create running lanes for Lanners, with Athman adding 116 rushing yards on 16 attempts.
Sophomore Robbie Skiba contributed 49 yards on eight carries and Boser scampered for a key 22-yard gain on fourth down on his only rush.
Despite being the only team other than Pierz to have won the Central Minnesota Conference (CMC) since 2003, EVW entered the game with an 0-4 record.
Regardless, the Eagles displayed a potent passing attack and resilient effort after falling behind 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter, closing the gap to 14-13 with the next two scores before eventually tying the game at 21-21 with 7:53 to play in the third quarter.
Lanners put Pierz back on top with his fourth touchdown run, but EVW marched back down the field on its next possession to close one, but missed the extra point to enter the fourth down 28-27.
Lanners then tallied his final two touchdowns and Athman scored from 16 yards out to clinch the win.
Lanners and Meyer also intercepted passes for the Pioneers.
“We have a huge rivalry with EVW and even though the Eagles were winless, we knew they would give us a game and they certainly did,” Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp said.
“The line did a very good job opening holes and Josh ran hard,” he said. “A nice homecoming win. The defense stepped up in the fourth quarter with some interceptions and the kids played great.”
Pierz 47, Eden Valley-Watkins 27
Eden Valley-Watkins 0 13 14 0 – 27
Pierz 7 14 7 19 – 47
PZ: Josh Lanners 27 run (Travis Johnson kick), 9:02.
PZ: Lanners 1 run (Johnson kick), 11:58.
EVW: Pelkey 1 run (Strait kick), 8:45.
EVW: Stenger 5 pass from Pauley (kick failed), 5:20.
PZ: Lanners 1 run (Johnson kick), 1:43.
EVW: Geislinger 3 run (Pelkey pass from Pauley), 7:53.
PZ: Lanners 2 run (Johnson kick), 4:01.
EVW: Renner 30 pass from Pauley (kick failed), 1:23.
PZ: Lanners 1 run (kick failed), 9:39.
PZ: Lanners 21 run (kick failed), 4:58.
PZ: Nathan Athman 16 run (Johnson kick), 3:27.
Pierz—Rushing: Josh Lanners, 38-290; Nathan Athman, 16-116; Robbie Skiba, 8-49; Ben Boser, 1-22; Chris Ortman, 3-8; Jon Fuhrman, 2-5. Passing: Boser, 2-7, 19. Receiving: Lanners, 1-12; T.J. Hoheisel, 1-7. Defense: Boser, interception; Lanners, interception; Brad Meyer, interception.