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Area Football: Pierz cashes in, returns to the Bank for 3A semifinals

ST. CLOUD--Leo Pohlkamp said it best, "Pierz boys like to play in the snow." That was evident as the top-ranked and defending state champion Pioneers put up 40 second-quarter points en route to a 60-12 Class 3A state quarterfinal win over the Ann...

Pierz Pioneers running back Mathias Algarin gains big yardage in the first quarter of their Class 3A state quarterfinal playoff game against Annandale Saturday, Nov. 10, in St. Cloud. Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!
Pierz Pioneers running back Mathias Algarin gains big yardage in the first quarter of their Class 3A state quarterfinal playoff game against Annandale Saturday, Nov. 10, in St. Cloud. Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

 

ST. CLOUD-Leo Pohlkamp said it best, "Pierz boys like to play in the snow."

That was evident as the top-ranked and defending state champion Pioneers put up 40 second-quarter points en route to a 60-12 Class 3A state quarterfinal win over the Annandale Cardinals Saturday, Nov. 10 at St. Cloud State University.

A continuous snowfall coupled with temperatures in the teens created a white blanket on the turf field at Husky Stadium. That didn't affect the Pioneers who rushed for 421 yards and didn't turn the ball over.

Pierz's defense, however, forced Annandale into seven turnovers. The Cardinals entered the state tournament with just six turnovers all year.

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"We stayed inside all week long," Pohlkamp said. "We'll deal with the weather the night of. Why go outside when it's cold, snow and a frozen ground? I just said, 'We'll deal with the cold and snow when we get there' and our kids embraced it.

"We were just opportunistic. Every time we got a turnover we scored on it, I believe."

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Pierz 60, Annandale 12

  • Key: Pioneers forced seven turnovers
  • Overall: Prz 11-0, Annandale finishes 9-2
  • Next: Pierz vs. Rochester Lourdes in Class 3A state semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.

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Pierz's secondary finished with as many interceptions (5) as Annandale had receptions and collected two fumbles. Pierz scored on the Cardinals' first five turnovers, three of which came in the Pioneers' 40-point second quarter.

Pierz capped off a four-play, 70-yard drive with a Reese Kapsner 42-yard TD run. Annandale answered with a bit of trickery on the kickoff as it used the Tennessee Titans' "Music City Miracle" template by passing the ball across the field on the return to Peyton Fobbe. The starting quarterback then sprinted down the sideline for a 78-yard score-the Cardinals' only points of the first half.

One play later and 13 seconds later, Pierz's Matthias Algarin answered with a 57-yard TD run. Algarin rushed for 120 yards on just four first-half carries.

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Isaac Otte picked off a Fobbe pass on Annandale's next possession and a play later Kapsner scored from 7 yards out and a 32-6 lead.

Alex Gross ended Annandale's next drive with the first of his two interceptions. Four plays later Carson Huls scored from 4 yards.

"That second quarter was a blast," Huls said. "Our linemen got their act together and we were just running hard There's not much else to it. After our first two drives, I did not expect us to blow them out like that. I thought this was going to be a one or two score game."

It was Michel Leidenfrost's turn to end a Cardinal drive as he secured an interception. Two plays later Huls scored from 39 yards out.

Annandale managed to not turn the ball over on its next possession, but its drive stalled at the Pierz 37. On Pierz's first play, Kapsner dribbled the handoff and sprinted 58 yards to set up a 5-yard Huls score and a 52-6 halftime score.

"I did dribble it," Kapsner said. "We were focused on ball control before the game. We won that battle today."

Kapsner rushed for 161 yards on 16 carries. Huls rushed just eight times for 72 yards and four touchdowns.

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For more game photos by Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro! go to https://bit.ly/2PpiI6A .

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"The line was fabulous," Kapsner said. "We knew Annandale was going to be really good and diving and so we just adjusted as the game went on. Once they got it figured out, they were lights out again."

Said Huls: "Their defense, they kept having guys go flying off tackle because they were keying on Reese Kapsner. They would have a linebacker going through the 'A' gap and I would just go right around him and the dives were open all night."

The Cardinals got a spark on the opening kickoff of the second half as they returned it to the Pierz 35. On the first play from scrimmage, the Cardinals fumbled, Kapsner scooped it up and returned it 55 yards for the Pioneers' final score.

"Obviously, I just wanted to pick it up and run," Kapsner said. "They had a nice momentum boost with the return, but then we were able to change momentum right back. That was good for us."

It was a Huls fumble recovery in the first quarter that ignited the turnover storm. The senior fullback jumped on the loose ball at the Annandale 9. Three plays later he scored from 2 yards out for a 12-0 Pierz lead.

Pierz struggled to move the ball against the Annandale defense early as its opening drive stalled at the Annandale 16. The Pioneers forced a Cardinals punt and then marched 25 yards on six plays with Algarin scoring from 15 yards out.

"We struggled that first quarter because they were so bound and determined to stop Kapsner," Pohlkamp said. "Our kids adjusted and started to pick it up. Our kids aren't the biggest kids so they have to go with all of their might. If they don't go 100 mph, it's hard. They had some big kids in there and their linebackers were very good. They pursued well. Once we got going, though, it was going.

"Reese was a marked man early, but that just opened things up for Huls."

Fobbe, Annandale's highly-touted QB, finished with negative 40 yards rushing as he struggled with high snaps, slippery footballs and a relentless Pierz rush. He was just 4-for-22 passing for 28 yards with four picks.

"We focused on the quarterback because he's a good runner and passer," Kapsner said. "We tried keeping him in the pocket and aiming up field against him and just keeping him contained more. He's a really good player."

 

Pierz 12 40 8 0-60

Annandale 0 6 0 6-12

 

First quarter

Prz-Matthias Algarin 15 run (run failed) 5:31

Prz-Carson Huls 2 run (Pass failed) 3:28

Second quarter

Prz-Reese Kapsner 42 run (Kapsner run) 11:00

Ann-Peyton Fobbe 78 kickoff return (kick failed) 10:47

Prz-Algarin 57 run (run failed) 10:34

Prz-Kapsner 7 run (run failed) 9:10

Prz-Huls 4 run (pass failed) 6:36

Prz-Huls 39 run (run failed) 5:20

Prz-Huls 5 run (Kapsner run) 1:25

Third quarter

Prz-Kapsner 55 fumble recovery (Algarin pass from Derek Schommer) 11:37

Fourth quarter

Ann-Lucas Evans 10 run (run failed) 1:16

 

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Prz 48-421, Ann 33-103

Pass comp-att-int-yds: Prz 0-2-0, Ann 5-22-5-28

Total offense: Prz 50-421, Ann 56-131

 

Individual leaders

Rushing: Prz-Reese Kapsner 16-161, Matthias Algarin 4-120, Alex Gross 1-3, Carson Huls 8-72, Blake Kowalczyk 6-28, Carter Moulzolf 6-32, Mason Rach 1-3, Alex Poster 3-5, Adam Funk 1-(-5), Ross Boser 2-2; Ann-Peyton Fobbe 8-(-40), Alan Luna 1-(-4), Luke Mikel 2-11, Cam Howard 14-100, Payton Crotty 2-13, Lucas Evans 5-28, Team 1-(-5)

Passing: Prz-Peter Schommer 0-2-0; Ann-Fobbe 4-22-28, Justin Lampi 0-1-0

Receiving: Ann-Trevor Marquette 2-12, Howard 2-16

Related Topics: PIERZ PIONEERS
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