PIERZ — It was a matter of getting back to basics.
The Pierz Pioneers suffered through a grueling five days of practice prior to Friday’s Central Minnesota Conference contest against Howard Lake-Waverly.
Then the Pioneers took out their frustrations against the Lakers to the tune of a 47-20 victory.
The sense of urgency came from a Sept. 7 loss to Holdingford where Pierz fumbled three times from within the 5-yard line and lost 12-7.
“We put the pads on Monday in practice and we’ve never done that ever,” said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp. “But we put the pads on and made sure the kids knew to stay low and drive, drive, drive. We had players who would hit their guy and just stop blocking. So our emphasis was to come off the ball and drive block and they really did that tonight. We wanted to get back to our style of football and win the game. We have some horses up front and I thought they really wanted the win tonight.”
The extra work paid off as Pierz rushed for 469 yards and gained a total of 536 yards of offense. The Pioneers’ defense held Howard Lake to 75 yards rushing and 232 yards of offense. The Lakers scores were all on big plays. A Brody Egeberg 73-yard touchdown reception and a 90 yard kickoff return by Egeberg kept Howard Lake close until Pierz rattled off 26 straight points in the second half.
“Last week against Holdingford we didn’t fly to the ball,” said Pierz senior Josh Lanners. “This week we flew to the ball and we had 10 or 11 guys to the ball each play. No. 23 (Egeberg) would sneak through some how, but we played well.”
Enjoying the fruits of his offensive line’s labor was Lanners, who rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Fullback Nathan Athman carried the ball 20 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
“At halftime we talked with coaches and set our focus to what we wanted to do,” said Lanners. “We talked about what we did wrong and we ran through each play and worked out what we were doing wrong and the linemen did an amazing job. They made the biggest holes tonight.”
Noah Boser finished off Pierz’s scoring on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter that was followed by Howard Lake’s 61-yard touchdown pass with 1:46 remaining in the fourth.
“We had Athman our fullback get over 100 yards tonight and Lanners had a big night, but the credit needs to go to the guys up front,” said Pohlkamp.
And the Pierz line is: Nick Lochner at center, Mitch Hasert and Cody Meyer at guards, Travis Johnson and Curtis Brisk at tackles and tight ends Brady Dorn and Brent Stangl.
“This was a big win because we had some doubts from last week,” Lanners said. “Practice was a little slow because of the loss, but we came back and worked hard and this was exciting.”
Howard Lake-WW 7 0 7 6 — 20
Pierz 7 7 20 13 — 47
Prz-Josh Lanners 15 run (Travis Johnson kick) 1:38
HL-Brody Egeberg 73 pass from Daire Butturff (Butturff kick) 41.5
Prz-Lanners 1 run (Johnson kick) 4:24
Prz-Lanners 51 run (Johnson kick) 10:59
HL-Egeberg 90 kick return (Butturff kick) 10:41
Prz-Lanners 2 run (Johnson kick) 7:47
Prz-Nathan Athman 2 run (kick failed) 3:19
Prz-Athman 21 run (Johnson kick) 9:20
Prz-Noah Boser 2 run (run failed) 2:38
HL-Ryan Gailey 61 pass from Alex Smith (run failed) 1:46
Rushes-yards: Prz 69-469, HL 25-75
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Prz 7-13-2-67, HL 6-16-1-157
Total offense: Prz 82-536, HL 41-232
Rushing: Prz-Josh Lanners 27-230, Nathan Athman 20-120, Jon Fuhrman 9-40, Robbie Skiba 4-36, Ben Boser 1-3, Brandon Sullivan 2-6, Noah Boser 4-19, Evan Woitalla 1-3; HLWW-Brody Egeberg 8-60
Passing: Prz-Boser 7-13-67; HLWW-Butturff 5-14-96
Receiving: Prz-Brady Dorn 1-28, Brent Stangl 2-23, Fuhrman 1-10, T.J. Hoheisel 1-9, Lanners 2-(-3); HLWW-Egeberg 2-71