MINNEAPOLIS Whoever selected Breck's nickname may have foreshadowed this year's football team.
With a stable of speedy receivers and powerful linemen and linebackers the No. 1-ranked Breck Mustangs dominated the Pierz Pioneers 47-13 in the state Class 2A semifinals Saturday at the Metrodome.
But it was 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback Liam O'Hagan who jockeyed the Mustangs to 514 yards of total offense.
Hagan threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-33 passing.
The senior also rushed for seven yards and the opening score. Senior receiver Brandon Robinson caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Thiel had five catches for 191 yards and three scores. Thiel's touchdowns covered 63, 32 and 64 yards.
"We were trying to do whatever we could to stop their speed," said Pierz senior Jordan Loidolt. "We went to a cover two at times and it seemed to work, but then they would just burn us whenever something went wrong.
Pierz running back Tony Andres looked for a running lane as defenders closed in. Pierz lost to the Breck Mustangs 47-13 in the Class 2A semifinal game at the Metrodome on Saturday.
"It was so hard. I just tried staying with (Robinson and Thiel), but they were so quick and they had so many good guys. The quarterback was unbelievable. We did all we could. We left our hearts out there."
Breck also became the first team to limit Pierz's leading rusher Craig Luberts. He did gain 131 rushing yards, but 66 came on a fourth-quarter touchdown run against Breck's second defense. The senior scored both Pierz touchdowns. The first came on a 95-yard kickoff return in the second quarter for a 15-7 score.
Otherwise, Pierz struggled to move the ball. The Pioneers managed just 165 total yards. At halftime they had 27 yards. Senior quarterback Joe Kahl threw three interceptions, but didn't have much time in the pocket.
"Their guys were just so big and quick and they kind of overpowered us a little bit," said Kahl. "The line tried and did the best they could. I give them credit for going out there and trying to show them what they had. They did a good job."
The Pioneers did open up the second half with a good drive. Pierz marched 51 yards on seven plays to Breck's 22, but a Marcellas Green interception ended the threat.
"It looked good starting the second half," said Loidolt. "We ran it down them. Then we had a tipped pass that got intercepted. Things started to go downhill from there. It came back up in the fourth quarter when Luberts busted that big run. Games like this happen though. There wasn't much we could do."
Class 2A State Semifinals
Breck 47, Pierz 13
The key: Liam O'Hagan threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns. Pierz finished the season with a 9-3 record.
Breck scored on four of its first five possessions for a 28-7 halftime lead.
It added two field goals and two touchdowns on its first five possessions of the second half.
"I was very impressed with them defensively," said Pierz coach Leo Pohlkamp. "They were a better defensive team than I expected. Their team speed is just so much better than ours.
"On offense they run very crisp patterns and (O'Hagen) delivers the ball. At times we would get some pressure on him, but he would roll out and find his tight end dragging across the middle."
Pierz 0 7 0 6 13
Breck 7 21 3 16 47
B-Liam O'Hagan 3 run (Brandon Robinson kick) 1:59
B-T.J. Thiel 63 pass from O'Hagen (Thiel rush) 11:22
P-Craig Luberts 95 kickoff return (Jeremy Monson kick) 11:06
B-Thiel 32 pass from O'Hagen (Robinson kick) 8:43
B-Robinson 15 pass from O'Hagen (Robinson kick) 3:48
B-Robinson 40 FG, 2:53
B-Thiel 64 pass from O'Hagen (Robinson kick) 11:49
B-Dan Dolliff 1 run (Robinson kick) 10:06
P-Luberts 66 run (kick blocked) 9:29
B-Robinson 40 field goal 5:43
First downs P 8, B 24
Rushes-yards P 33-119, B34-108
Passing yards P 46, B 406
Passes att-comp-int P11-2-3, B33-22-0
Total offense P44-165, B 67-514
Punts P 5-44.6, B 2-41.0
Fumbles-lost P 2-0, B 1-0
Penalties P 5-50, B 9-73
Possession time P 21:04, B 26:56
Sacks P 2-12, B 3-12
Rushing P-Craig Luberts 23-131, Joe Stangle 1-5, Tony Andres 4-4, Joe Kahl 5-(-21); B-Bobby Joe Smith 12-37, Xavier Rucker 3-25
Passing P-Kahl 2-11-46, B-Liam O'Hagan 22-33-406
Receiving P-Luberts 1-32, Justin Athman 1-14; B-Brandon Robinson 6-110, T.J. Thiel 5-191.
Overall P finishes 9-3, B 13-0.
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