By PATRICK SLACK
In a regular season finale pitting two teams heading in opposite directions, Pierz handed visiting Maple Lake its third loss in a row with a 33-6 triumph, Wednesday, while winning its sixth consecutive game.
Senior Josh Lanners accounted for 225 of the Pioneers’ 386 rushing yards and opened the scoring from six yards out in the first quarter.
Junior Nathan Athman powered in from one yard away and junior Tyler Millner scored on a 7-yard rush to extend Pierz’ lead to 21-0 at halftime.
The Pioneers quickly moved the ball down field after receiving the ball to start the third quarter, capped by a 54-yard scamper by Millner, then Athman closed the scoring for Pierz on a 14-yard rush late in the third.
Maple Lake broke up the shutout bid with 1:07 to play in the fourth.
Senior Ben Boser intercepted a pass while senior Jon Fuhrman, junior Austin Hoheisel and Athman recovered fumbles for the Pierz defense.
Senior Jess Kasper caught two passes for 32 yards and junior Evan Woitalla added a 15-yard reception.
“We had a dominating performance from our line tonight,” Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp said. “We really controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We stayed healthy and look like we are playing our best football at the right time of the season.”
Pierz will be the third seed in the Section 6AA playoffs and host either Breckenridge or Wadena-Deer Creek in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, pending the outcome of Breckenridge’s regular season finale, Thursday.
Pierz 33, Maple Lake 6
Maple Lake 0 0 0 6 – 6
Pierz 7 14 12 0 – 33
PZ: Josh Lanners 6 run (Travis Johnson kick), 3:56.
PZ: Nathan Athman 1 run (Johnson kick), 10:43.
PZ: Tyler Millner 7 run (Johnson kick), 4:05.
PZ: Millner 54 run (kick failed), 10:51.
PZ: Athman 14 run (kick failed), 3:52.
ML: Coughey 24 run (kick failed), 1:07.
Pierz—Rushing: Josh Lanners, 14-225; Nathan Athman, 8-67; Tyler Millner, 5-63; Evan Woitalla, 2-8; Jon Fuhrman, 6-8; Chris Ortman, 7-8; Robbie Skiba, 3-7. Passing: Ben Boser, 2-6, 32; Ethan Lochner, 1-1, 15. Receiving: Jess Kasper, 2-32; Evan Woitalla, 1-15. Defense: Lanners, 6 solo tackles, 4 assists; Boser, interception; Athman, fumble recovery; Fuhrman, fumble recovery; Austin Hoheisel, fumble recovery.