By PATRICK SLACK
Area football from Friday, Oct. 4:
Pierz 43, Rockford Area 26
Blocking three punts is usually a good recipe for a win.
Of course, having a back run for six touchdowns isn’t bad either.
Senior Nathan Athman rushed for more than 200 yards and all six of the Pioneers’ scores as Pierz won its homecoming game 43-26 over Rockford Area, Friday.
By the end of the night on special teams, Rockford was reduced to faking going for fourth-down conversions so it could get off punts, instead of the other way around. Which still didn’t work.
It was the third win in a row for Pierz, which moves to 4-2 overall, 3-2 in the Central Minnesota Conference.
Little Falls 20, Foley 12
In the upset of the night in the Granite Ridge Conference, Little Falls went into fifth-ranked Foley and spoiled the Falcons’ homecoming, churning out a 20-12 victory.
The Flyers turned in a key stop inside its 10-yard line on Foley’s opening drive of the game, enabling them to keep the game scoreless deep into the second quarter before a wild scramble before halftime.
Junior Austin Fenske connected with junior Bryce Zawatke with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds before the break to make it 7-0, then the Flyers capitalized on Foley’s aggressiveness in a massive way, as senior Derek McMahan returned an interception 38 yards for a score.
Riding the momentum of the late first-half surge, the Flyers kept the pressure on as play resumed in the third quarter, marching down the field before senior Jalen Wuchko punched in a 3-yard run to make it 20-0.
Foley picked up a pair of late touchdowns in the fourth quarter to close the final margin, but not enough to derail the Flyers.
Wuchko finished the night with 141 yards on 34 carries, with Fenske completing all three of his passes to Zawatzke for 72 yards.
McMahan and sophomore Thomas Miller both had interceptions, while the Flyers were also able to contain Foley’s multi-dimensional state track champion Tyler Beehler, holding him to 62 yards receiving, 27 rushing and 23 passing.
Royalton 15, New York Mills 0
Royalton bounced back from its first loss of the season with a sterling defensive effort at New York Mills, Friday, earning a 15-0 shutout victory to improve to 5-1.
Holdingford 48, Kimball Area 12
Holdingford continued its season-long dominance of the Central Minnesota Conference, Friday, going into Kimball Area and coming away with a 48-12 win. The fourth-ranked Huskers are now 6-0 on the year.
Barnesville 61, Upsala-Swanville Area 6
Barnesville showed why it has a now 40-game regular season win streak, handing visiting Upsala-Swanville Area its first defeat 61-6, Friday. Barnesville was ranked fifth in Class AA entering the game, with Upsala-Swanville Area ranked sixth in Class A.