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Area Male Athlete: Pierz's Kapsner capitalizing on limited chances

Upon learning he was the Area Male Athlete of the week, Reese Kapsner celebrated by rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries and intercepting two passes and returning one for a score. Kapsner's big night highlighted Pierz's 6...

Reese Kapsner
Reese Kapsner

 

Upon learning he was the Area Male Athlete of the week, Reese Kapsner celebrated by rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries and intercepting two passes and returning one for a score.

Kapsner's big night highlighted Pierz's 68-0 blowout of Rockford Wednesday, Oct. 17 helping the Pioneers finish the regular season 8-0.

But big games are nothing new for the senior running back and strong safety.

In a 47-14 victory over Class 2A's seventh-ranked Paynesville Oct. 12, Kapsner gained 194 yards on just 14 carries and scored on runs of 65, 22 and 8 yards.

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It's been that way all season long for the now two-time 1,000-yard rusher.

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Reese Kapsner

  • Year: Senior
  • School: Pierz
  • Sport: Football
  • Position: Running back, strong safety
  • Highlights: Rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns against Paynesville

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"He's so quick and shifty and tough to bring down and he reads his blocks so well," Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp said. "The experience of being a senior and he's our captain. He went for 1,000 yards last year and this year, it's so much easier when you stay healthier and he's running well.

"The first play of the game, we couldn't have scripted it any better. I think Paynesville is a good team. They're putting up 52 points a game and their defense is really good, but if you could diagram a blocking scheme to work just the way you want it to, that's what happened. He took off to the races. A guy had an angle on him so he just stiff-armed him and went in for the score."

As a junior, Kapsner split carries with Jalen Jansen to form a state championship-winning formula. Kapsner finished with 1,120 yards and 18 touchdowns on 144 rushes for a 7.8 yards-per-carry average.

Heading into the Section 6-3A playoffs, Kapsner has rushed for 1,075 yards and 17 touchdowns on just 94 carries That's an 11.4 yards-per-carry average. He's averaging 134.4 yards per game while playing mostly just half of the game.

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"His balance is phenomenal," Pohlkamp said. "He hits the hole and his biggest asset is he is quick and then he makes good cuts. He's got a good burst. He's not a burner, but once he gets in the open he's moving.

"I'd say the best things are his vision and balance and toughness. For a kid that weighs 170 pounds, he's really hard to bring down. He's fun to watch run. He finishes his runs really well. Safeties and corners sometimes pay the price for tackling him because he'll run you over."

Kapsner said he enjoys finishing his runs.

"The offensive line makes that initial hole and then we're always taught to hit the hole hard and finish," Kapsner said. "I fight for extra yards and try and get as many extra yards as I can."

Kapsner has also caught two passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and has returned five punts for 156 yards and a score. He's returned three kickoffs for 116 yards (38.7 average) and a touchdown.

"Our offensive line is always great," Kapsner said. "There's a lot of new faces, but they're working and figuring it all out this year. They're doing a great job of putting everything together that they've learned. (Assistant) coach (Dave) Rocheleau teaches them well like he always does."

Defensively Kapsner has five interceptions with one of those going for another touchdown. He has a total of 21 touchdowns or almost three per game.

Kapsner has even kicked off for the Pioneers. On nine kicks, he averaged 43.2 yards.

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"I think what helps our running attack is we have more than one guy," Kapsner said. "Defenses can't key on one guy. Alex Gross, Carson Huls, Alex Poster and Carter Moulzolf are all getting carries. We like to mix the handoffs around so they don't know which way the ball is going. That makes it all work out."

Kapsner has added 47 tackles, the five interceptions and five pass breakups from his strong safety position.

Pohlkamp said Kapsner is a great tackler with improved secondary skills.

"I'm dropping back in coverage a little bit more than last year," Kapsner said. "I'm just trying to do my job. (Assistant coach Dan) Saehr puts a great game plan together. It's pretty much the same responsibilities I had last year, but I'm covering a little bit more. I'm just doing my job."

 

Other notable performances:

Cross country: Jake Andres, Pierz, won the Royalton Invite in 17:29.

Bereket Loer, Wadena-Deer Creek, won the Ottertail Central Invite in 17:57.

Football: Cade Schmidt, Staples-Motley, rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns against Wadena-Deer Creek.

Matt Steege, Verndale, rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns against Bertha-Hewitt.

Tucker Peterson, Pillager, rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns against Roseau.

Related Topics: PIERZ PIONEERSFOOTBALL
Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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