John Omann has found his stride.
The state track and field speedster is burning up the football field, helping the Pierz Pioneers to a 5-1 record.
In a 31-7 victory over Maple Lake Oct. 9, Omann rushed for 242 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. As a team Pierz rushed for 362 yards.
The senior captain credited a veteran offensive line and his impressive lead blocker for his success.
"Cody (Stangl) is doing very well," said Omann. "The last game he was taking on two or three defenders at a time. It was nice having him up front, leading the way, so I could get outside and just run."
In Pierz's 50-0 win over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Oct. 2, Omann rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He added a 60-yard punt return for a score.
Key stat: Rushed for 242 yards and two touchdowns against Maple Lake
Omann tallied 157 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Rockford. In Pierz's lone loss of the season, Omann still managed 93 yards.
"Last year he came on in the later part of the year," said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp. "He's able to follow his blocks and then make people miss. Once he gets into that secondary it's a track meet and he went to state."
Last season, Omann rushed for 631 yards and four touchdowns on 73 carries for an 8.6 yards-per-carry average. He also caught 21 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown.
In last year's Section 6-2A final, a 45-21 loss to Breckenridge, Omann caught seven passes for 81 yards and a score.
It was in that game that Omann saw first hand how important speed is.
"That's all I worked on all summer, just getting that step faster," he said. "Last year, track helped a lot. That Breckenridge game showed me and the whole team that we had to get faster as a whole. Then track came, which helped, but the summer training really helped."
While speed is Omann's meal ticket, the wrestler isn't afraid to take his 160-pound frame between the tackles. Nor is he afraid to make a tackle on defense.
"He's a great tackler, most wrestlers are and he's doing that," said Pohlkamp. "He has two interceptions and with his quickness he's able to make up a lot of ground.
"If we can keep him healthy we'll have a good end of the season. He's certainly benefited from having Cody at fullback."
Omann ran the 200-meter dash at last year's Class 1A state meet. While he didn't make the finals, he did finish 13th with a 23.15 time. He realizes, however, that his speed isn't worth much unless he can get into the open field.
"I've really been pushing myself, but the line is really getting me these yards with their downfield blocking," he said. "I wouldn't have half the yards I have without them getting down the field and making blocks."
Other notable performances:
Football: Aaron Kern, Wadena-Deer Creek, rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns against Crookston.
Alex Jannson, Staples-Motley, rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 12 more yards against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
Amos Schmidt, Verndale, rushed for 189 yards and five touchdowns against Eagle Valley.
Phil Kuhlmann, Crosby-Ironton, threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-20 passing against Braham.
Nathan Hudrlik, Crosby-Ironton, rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns against Braham.
Matthew Hudrlik, Crosby-Ironton, caught six passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns against Braham.
Zach Horejsi, Little Falls, rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns against Fergus Falls.
Travis Stoerzinger, Little Falls, finished with five tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery against Fergus Falls.
Soccer: Grant Bell, Little Falls, scored three goals against St. John's Prep.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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