As a water boy Mitch Massman suffered through countless losses at Pierz.
The Holdingford Huskers quarterback had to wait until his senior season before finally hoisting his helmet in victory at Pierz High School. It happened Friday as Massman completed 12-of-19 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, leading Holdingford to a 26-3 win over Central Minnesota Conference foe Pierz.
“It’s been a while since we’ve won here,” said Massman. “Even when I was a manager it didn’t happen. It felt good. Last year we beat them twice at home but it feels good to come here and take a win as a senior here.”
It’s Holdingford’s third straight win over it’s conference rival but first in Pierz since Sept. 19, 2003. The win improves the defending Section 6-2A champs to 2-0 and drops Pierz to 1-1.
“They’re (Pierz) going to bring a new defense each time we play them but it’s basic concepts,” Massman said. “We just realize that we have to play tough against Pierz to get a win. As a senior it’s very rewarding.”
Messman’s first touchdown pass came 5:11 in the second quarter when he found Jordan Gombos coming out of the back field for a 50-yard touchdown pass for a 6-3 Husker advantage.
After a Cody Bialka interception of a Mackenzie Gruber pass Massman found Gombos again, this time right up the middle over the Pierz secondary for a 66-yard scoring strike. Gombos caught three passes for 133 yards.
Holdingford took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 65-yards in 10 plays, capping it off with a 14-yard Massman pass to Jeremy Springer. Springer finished with three catches for 47 yards on offense and two interceptions on defense.
The Huskers capped off their scoring with a Matt Massman 20-yard run for the final 26-3 score. Matt Massman rushed for 50 yards on eight carries and Bialka carried four times for 58 yards.
“Our offense is so flexible,” Massman said. “We can run the ball. We can throw the ball. We find what’s open. It was obvious that the run up the middle wasn’t there so why not pass it over top of them for touchdowns I guess?”
Pierz opened the game with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that stalled on Holdingford’s 13. Beau Winscher punched in a 31-yard field goal for Pierz’s early 3-0 lead.
“We had a good first quarter for us, it really was,” said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp. “They only had the ball for one series. But they have some four-year starters. We had a good game last week (a 40-7 win over Milaca), but they weren’t as physical and as tough as this team. We did some good things to start out with, but we had heavy legs. We conditioned hard this week, but we had some heavy legs. They looked like they had a little bit more bounce in their step.”
The Pioneers finished with just 168 yards of offense on 45 plays compared to Holdingford’s 60 plays for 504 yards. Tyler Millner carried the ball 12 times for 42 yards.
“When (Holdingford) empties their backfield that presents a big problem because you have to cover all those guys,” said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp. “It takes you out of your regular defense. I thought we did a pretty good job in the first quarter and a half. And then all of a sudden they made big plays. Their skill people are really good.
“They are a really good 2A team.”
Nathan Athman added 37 rushing yards and Millner caugh two passes for 15 yards.
Pierz finished 8-2 last year with those two losses both coming to Holdingford, which went on to win the Section 6-2A title. Prior to last year, Pierz hadn’t lost to Holdingford since 2003, a span of eight-straight wins.
Entering Friday’s game, Pierz held a 50-3 home record since 2003. Two of those losses were to Eden Valley-Watkins with the last loss coming Oct. 11, 2010 to Ottertail Central in the section semifinals.
Holdingford 0 12 8 6 — 26
Pierz 3 0 0 0 — 3
Prz-Beau Winscher 31 field goal 7:07
H-Jordan Gombos 50 pass from Mitch Messman (pass failed) 5:11
H-Gombos 66 pass from Mitch Messman (pass failed) 1:47
H-Jeremy Springer 14 pass from Mitch Massman (Mitch Massman run) 7:19
H-Matt Massman 20 run (kick blocked) 5:27
Rushes-yards: Prz 29-103, H
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Prz 6-16-3-65, H
Total offense: Prz 45-168, H
Rushing: Prz-Nathan Athman 7-37, Jonny Kasper 6-17, Tyler Millner 12-42, Noah Boser 3-17, Mackenzie Gruber 1-(-10); H-Matt Massman 8-50, Cody Bialka 4-58, Jordan Combos 5-19, Mitch Massman 16-47, Taylor Nitz 2-37, Devin Motschke 2-8, Wyatt Johnson 4-19
Passing: Prz-Gruber 6-13-65, Ethan Lochner 0-3-0; H-Mitch Massman 12-19-276
Receiving: Prz-Millner 2-15, Chris Ortman 1-19, Boser 1-7, Evan Woitalla 1-14, Winscher 1-4; H-Bialka 4-33, Jeremy Springer 3-47, Gombos 3-133, Matt Massman 1-18, Brody Davidson 1-45