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High School Football: Morris 4th-quarter rally hands Pierz 1st loss

The Pierz Pioneers hosted the Morris Tigers for homecoming Friday, Sept. 30.

A Pierz player pushes the pile ahead.
Pierz's Reese Young pushes the pile ahead for a few more yards against Morris on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Pierz.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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PEIRZ — Don’t know who Drew Huebner is. You will soon.

The sophomore quarterback of the Morris Tigers threw for 238 yards and rushed for 91 more as he keyed a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Pierz Pioneers 26-24 Friday, Sept. 30.

Huebner finished 16-of-26 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning strike to Owen Anderson that covered 24 yards and put the Tigers up by two points with 2:36 remaining.

“That offense was very difficult to stop,” Pierz head coach Danny Saehr said. “That quarterback is a stud. He presents problems with his legs and his arms. We had him wrapped up in the backfield a few times and he made some plays. Tip your hat. They made more plays than we did. That’s what I told our kids. We had a few chances to make some interceptions or sacks and we didn’t. They made the plays and they deserve to win.”

Pierz's Kirby Fischer runs with the ball against Morris on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Pierz.
Pierz's Kirby Fischer runs with the ball against Morris on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Pierz.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The game-winning drive lasted just three plays as Huebner rushed for 16 yards and then 12 yards before hitting Anderson for 24 and the score. Anderson finished with five catches for 109 yards. He also caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Huebner in the second quarter.

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“Our quarterback, being a sophomore, has grown up a lot right before our eyes,” Morris head coach Kevin Pope said. “It’s been fun to see him do that. He’s really cool in the pocket. He knows when to run and when to throw. I don’t know. It’s been a treat watching him grow up.”

The game-winning drive came after Morris held Pierz on fourth and one. Prior to that Pierz drive, Morris pulled to 24-18 thanks to an Anderson 2-yard touchdown run. The drive was highlighted by a 50-yard pass from Huebner to Anderson.

“Getting those defensive stops was the ball game,” Pope said. “Especially being able to do it quickly to get the ball back and then take the lead. Then when we had the lead to get a four and out and get it right back to our offense was dynamite.”

Pierz built a 24-12 lead thanks to a typical Pioneers drive. A Morris punt rolled to the Pioneers' 3-yard line. 20 plays and 97 yards later Pierz QB Garrett Cummings broke the line of scrimmage from a yard out for the two-score advantage.

Pierz rushed for 331 yards on 64 plays and was 5-of-9 passing for 52 yards. The Pioneers didn’t commit a penalty nor did they have a turnover, but when they needed a big play or a big stop they couldn’t get one. Another hurdle was an ankle injury to their kicker. Pierz didn't attempt to kick for an extra point and was 0-4 on two-point conversions. Morris was 1-3 on two-point conversions. That one was the difference.

Kirby Fischer led Pierz’s rushing attack with 104 yards on 15 carries. Reese Young carried the ball 22 times for 81 yards and Jacob LeBlanc rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries. Derek Stangle provided a spark as he rushed for 81 yards on six carries, including a 45-yard touchdown sprint that handed Pierz an 18-12 halftime lead. Before that LeBlanc scored on runs of 4 and 3 yards.

“Obviously the way our offense is built it’s not necessarily built for a two-minute drill, but we still have to make plays,” Saehr said. “We’re going to be put in those situations the rest of the year and in playoffs. As I said, we needed to make plays and we didn’t and it showed on the scoreboard.”

The game’s first touchdown came on Morris’ opening drive. Huebner hit Tyler Berlinger for a 6-yard pass. Berlinger caught eight passes for 104 yards.

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“One thing about our guys every single game this year has been their composure,” Pope said. “They really believe that on every single play we have an opportunity to make a good one. They believe in every single game that we are in it until the end. The defense knew that all we needed to do was give it back to our offense. They went out and played on heart, guts and grit. They had us outmanned, but we got a couple of stops.”

Morris 6 6 0 14 -- 26

Pierz 6 12 0 6 -- 24

First quarter

M-Tyler Berlinger 6 pass from Drew Huebner (run failed) 9:07

P-Jacob LeBlanc 4 run (run failed) 33.6

Second quarter

M-Owen Anderson 23 pass from Huebner (pass failed) 11:48

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P-LeBlanc 3 run (pass failed) 6:57

P-Derek Stangl 45 run (run failed) 1:47

Fourth quarter

P-Garrett Cummings 1 run (run failed) 8:00

M-Anderson 2 run (Max Lietz pass from Huebner) 6:17

M-Anderson 24 pass from Huebner (run failed) 2:36

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Prz 64-331, M 23-113

Pass comp-att-int-yds: Prz 5-9-0-52, M 16-26-0-238

Total offense: Prz 73-383, M 49-351

Individual leaders

Rushing: Prz-Reese Young 22-81, Jacob LeBlanc 16-62, Garrett Cummings 5-3, Kirby Fischer 15-104, Derek Stangl 6-81; M-Mitchell Moser 2-6, Drew Huebner 15-91, Owen Anderson 5-12, Andrew Marty 1-(-1)

Passing: Prz-Cummings 5-9-52; M-Huebner 16-26-238

Receiving: Prz-Young 2-33, LeBlanc 1-12, Fischer 2-7; M-Tyler Berlinger 8-104, Riley Asmus 3-29, Anderson 5-109

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JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Morris 26, Pierz 24

Key: Two late fourth-quarter touchdowns keyed Morris’ rally

Overall: Prz 4-1, Morris 3-2

Next: Pierz at Melrose 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7.

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