FARGO, N.D. -- Two perennial state wrestling teams squared off Friday to see who the better football team was.
Clearly only one was state worthy as the top-seeded Pierz Pioneers had no trouble eliminating the sixth-seeded Frazee Hornets 49-7 in the Section 8, Class 2A finals.
While it was cold outside, the Pioneers were hot -- red hot -- inside the Fargodome.
Pierz scored on its first seven possessions while gaining 246 offensive yards just in the first half. The Pioneers grabbed 15 first downs in that span.
Defensively, Pierz held the Hornets to 10 first-half yards. Of the two Frazee first downs, both coming on penalties.
"Defense wins championships and we really played like champions," said Pierz coach Leo Pohlkamp. "I told the kids three and out puts us back on offense and that's where we shine. You have to play good defense to win championships. We stepped up and played well."
The Pioneers picked off three passes and held the Hornets to 97 total yards in the game.
As he's done most of the year, senior running back Craig Luberts started the domination on a 56-yard scoring run.
"The offensive line opened up some huge holes," said Luberts, who increased his touchdown total to 26 this season. "They gave me a lot of room to run."
After a blocked punt, Luberts scored again on a 1-yard run.
On Frazee's next possession, Pierz held the Hornets on fourth down and one and took over at the Frazee 21. Luberts scored from three yards out.
On the Pioneers' next drive, receiver Jordan Loidolt lined up wide left. Frazee's secondary neglected to cover him and Pierz quarterback Joe Kahl saw the open teammate. He hit him for a 35-yard score.
"They just decided not to cover our wide receivers and I picked up on that," said Kahl. "I just called an audible and threw the ball to him. I got him the ball and he took it all the way into the end zone."
That was all in the first quarter. It didn't get any harder for Pierz.
Senior Tony Andres scored twice from 2 and 5 yards in the second quarter for a 42-0 first half lead.
"That's our strength, the running game," said Pohlkamp. "We did complete some nice passes so it's not like we're one dimensional. We can go inside. We can run off tackle and we can go outside. We're real pleased with the way our linemen blocked up front and our backs run hard."
Luberts rushed for 119 yards while the Pioneers gained 302 rushing yards. The Pioneers totaled 356 yards of total offense.
"Our lineman coach Dave Rocheleau really fired us up before the game," said senior lineman Steve Doroff. "He really got us going. He pressured us to take it to them. He said, 'They were working on wearing us down,' which we don't like.
"We come out. We play hard. We hit hard. We open up holes to let those guys run through and that's our job."
Frazee 0 0 7 0 -- 7
Pierz 28 14 7 0 -- 49
P-Craig Luberts 56 run (Jeremy Monson kick) 10:47
P-Luberts 1 run (Monson kick) 6:28
P-Luberts 3 run (Monson kick) 2:11
P-Jordan Loidolt 35 pass from Joe Kahl (Monson kick) 6.9
P-Tony Andres 2 run (Monson kick) 8:57
P-Andres 5 run (Monson kick) 42.5
P-Nick Gruber 5 run (Monson kick) 9:06
F-Austin Bachmann 5 run (Brenton Newling kick) 8:11
Rushes-yards -- P-51-302 ; F 30-98
Pass comp-att-int-yards -- P 4-6-0-54; F 1-9-3-(-1)
Total offense -- P 57-356; F 39-97
Rushing -- P-Craig Luberts 19-119, Tony Andres 8-41, Jesse Zajac 3-21, Nick Gruber 5-22, Preston Loidolt 5-23, Warren Gall 2-16, Joe Stamgl 2-9, Nathan Janson 1-3, Mike Schirmers 2-14, Chuck Boer 1-15, Kyle Bednar 1-5; F-Adam Aho 7-(-2), Dennis Oswald 13-35, Austin Bachmann 7-43, Blake Bristin 1-5, Zack Sullinger 1-2, Tyler Steinle 1-15
Passing -- P-Joe Kahl 3-4-50, Andy Johnson 1-2-4; F-Dylan Savary 1-9-(-1)
Receiving -- P-Jordan Loidolt 2-48, Cody Happke 1-2, Mark Korf 1-4; F-Aho 1-(-1)
Overall -- P 8-2, F 5-6. Next game -- Pierz vs. the winner of Duluth Marshall/Esko Nov. 7
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