Area Football: Pierz holds off Maple Lake for win

Pierz 28, Maple Lake 21 Key: Three Maple Lake turnovers helped Pierz hang on Conf: Prz 1-0, ML 0-1 Overall: Prz 2-0, ML 1-1 Next: Pierz at Holdingford 7 p.m. Friday PIERZ - A picturesque fall Friday night almost turned into a nightmare for the Pi...

Pierz 28, Maple Lake 21

Key: Three Maple Lake turnovers helped Pierz hang on

Conf: Prz 1-0, ML 0-1

Overall: Prz 2-0, ML 1-1

Next: Pierz at Holdingford 7 p.m. Friday


PIERZ - A picturesque fall Friday night almost turned into a nightmare for the Pierz Pioneers.

For as perfect as Pierz played in the first half, that's how good the Maple Lake Irish moved the ball in the second half. A fumble recovery by Theodone Dehler at the Pierz 4 and an interception by Kolton Eischens at the Pierz 5 prevented a complete Irish comeback and preserved a 28-21 Central Minnesota Conference victory for the Pioneers.

"It's a game of turnovers," said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp. "The plus-minus is big in every level of football and tonight we were plus three. That pick by Kolton Eischens really took the wind out of their sails. Because then it's 28-14 and we're able to run some more time off the clock."

Dusty Strub hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Tom Goetz with 7.6 seconds remaining in the game to cut Pierz's lead to seven but there wasn't enough time for anything else. That's because of Eischens interception, which stopped the Irish on their previous possession with a little more than six minutes on the clock.

Maple Lake scored 21 unanswered points and it started at the end of the first half when Cal Redemske rushed in from eight yards out to pull the Irish to 28-7 at halftime.

"How many times do you go into the locker room at halftime with a lead and you tell the kids, 'What's the score? 0-0,'" said Pohlkamp. "They came out in the second half and beat us at the line of scrimmage, where we dominated in the first half. We did not control it in the second half. They came out and got the momentum and that's when they started to roll."

Redemske, who finished with 143 yards on 24 carries and threw one pass for 20 yards, scored again to start the fourth quarter from yard out.

"This Redemske is going to play college ball somewhere," said Pohlkamp. "He's a four-year starter and I'm glad I never have to play him again. He just runs low to the ground and the kids say he's like a battering ram. We knew he was going to get a lot of carries, but I didn't want him to get those 250-yard games he's capable of. We sometimes just had him by the ankles and waited for help."


Pierz managed just 34 yards of offense in the second half and were hamstrung by penalties (4 for 35 yards). Maple Lake collected 238 yards of offense in the second half compared to just 142 in the first.

In the first half, Pierz scored on its first four possessions. Quarterback Ethan Lochner found Michael Meyer for a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to start the scoring.

"That was our main problem last year we couldn't pass the ball," said senior back Robbie Skiba. "This year we improved some and we should be more balanced and beat some better teams down the road."

Logan Stangl then scored from five yards out for the first of his two touchdowns.

Robbie Skiba, who led all rushers with 163 yards on 15 carries, broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown run to start the second quarter.

"Everyone had the right blocks and then I just took care of the rest," said Skiba.

Pierz finished with 258 yards on 27 plays in the first half.

"Everything was working for us in the first half," Pohlkamp said. "Our backs were running hard. Our running backs were finishing their runs. Skiba, I thought, really stepped it up. He had a good game with 100 yards against Milaca, but he had three fumbles and was so down on himself. He's the one that just keeps going and going and all of a sudden, he'll just take off. He's a good back."


On the Meyer touchdown catch, the junior receiver came down awkwardly on his knee and didn't return. Senior running back Jonathan Kasper hurt his ankle early in the first quarter. Both played secondary for the Pierz. Their absence allowed Maple Lake to throw for 216 yards. Strub finished with four catches for 120 yards and Ryan Kalinowski grabbed seven catches for 100 yards.

"They just kept coming at us hard," said Skiba. "We need to keep working on conditioning and getting better and hopefully we'll pull out the second half next game."

Maple Lake 0 7 0 14 - 21

Pierz 14 14 0 0 - 28

First quarter

Prz-Michael Meyer 14 pass from Ethan Lochner (Lane Girtz kick) 8:14

Prz-Logan Stangl 5 run (Girtz run) 1:02

Second quarter


Prz-Robbie Skiba 57 run (Girtz kick) 11:50

Prz-Stangl 1 run (Girtz kick) 3:50

ML-Cal Redemske 8 run (Charlie Stejskal kick) 2:20

Fourth quarter

ML-Redemske 3 run (Stejskal kick) 10:09

ML-Dusty Strub 17 pass from Ton Goetz (Stejskal kick) 7.6

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Prz 45-240, ML 36-154


Pass comp-att-int-yds: Prz 4-10-0-52, ML 12-21-1-216

Total offense: Prz 49-292, ML 57-370

Individual leaders

Rushing: Prz-Noah Boser 10-35, Skiba 15-163, Jonathan Kasper 3-1, Lochner 5-11, Stangl 7-20, Girtz 3-10, ML-Redemske 24-143, Strub 3-4, Goetz 4-(-5), Austin Becker 4-7, Ryan Kalinowski 1-5

Passing: Prz-Lochner 4-10-52, ML-Goetz 11-20-196, Redemske 1-1-20

Receiving: Prz-Michael Meyer 1-14, Nick Herold 2-21, Beau Winacher 1-17, ML-Kalinowski 7-100, Strub 4-120, Redemske 1-(-4)

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