Prep football: Huskers pummel Pioneers 26-3

Prep football: Huskers pummel Pioneers 26-3

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Prep football: Huskers pummel Pioneers 26-3

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PIERZ

In case anyone didn’t know, Holdingford and the grind-it-out, freight train of an offense that the Huskers usually run also includes the forward pass.

Repeat: The Huskers can throw the forward pass.

On a hot, humid Friday night at Healy High School, Holdingford needed to pass. It added up to a 26-3 win over Pierz in the Central Minnesota Conference opener.

“Oh yes, we can pass,” Holdingford wide receiver/defensive back Jeremy Springer said. “We can run AND we can pass.”

The Huskers (1-0 CMC, 2-0 overall) threw for 276 yards.

Add in 228 on the ground and Holdingford amassed 504 yards on 60 plays.

It helped the Huskers overcome an early 3-0 deficit in which Pierz (0-1, 1-1) dominated play for the first quarter and a half but wound up with 168 yards of total offense including 52 in the second half.

“We were down early,” Holdingford head coach Luke Mitchell said. “They smacked us in the mouth right away.

“Our kids took a little time to get going, to get used to playing at that intensity level. After that first quarter, we really regained our focus.”

It gave the Huskers their first win at Pierz since a 31-27 win in 2003 and their third straight over the mighty Pioneers, who had beaten Holdingford eight times in a row before that.

“Their experience showed,” Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp said. “That (Mitch) Messman and (Mitch) Merten are two of the finest defensive ends you’re going to find in Class 2A.”

Mitch Messman also is a fine quarterback. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, hooking up with running back Jordan Gombos for TD passes of 50 and 66 yards in the second quarter.

That gave Holdingford a 12-3 halftime lead.

“We do what needs to be done,” Messman said of the Huskers’ passing game.

Like his coach, he was taken aback by the Pioneers’ early dominance. The 50-yard TD to Gombos came on a third-and-11 play after a Holdingford timeout that seemed to completely shift momentum from that point on.

“As a defense, we weren’t used to that,” Messman said of Pierz’s early advantage. “We needed to wake up. After that, we really did wake up.”

Pierz didn’t help matters by throwing three interceptions. Springer picked two of them off (Cody Bialka had the other). Both of Springer’s were caught in Holdingford territory.

“It felt good,” said Springer, who also had a 14-yard TD pass from Messman in the third quarter. “I just tried to get a good read on the quarterback.

“It really helps when your linemen and linebackers and the other guys in the secondary are all doing their jobs. It was a good job by them, too. It’s all good.”

Matt Messman, the junior fullback and Mitch’s younger brother, concluded the scoring with a 20-yard TD run with 5:27 to play. That brought out the second stringers for both squads as Holdingford wrapped up its second straight victory over a Class 3A school. (Pierz is moved up to 3A this year).

“I was hoping we could see them down the road, like week six or seven,” Pohlkamp said. “We grew up fast last week (a 40-7 win over Milaca).

“But we also knew they would be a better opponent and I’m not trying to say anything bad about Milaca. They (the Huskers) are really experienced and talented.”

Pierz, meanwhile, is a bit banged up. Robbie Skiba and Andy Kapsner are both key players who didn’t play Friday because of knee injuries. Their status is uncertain the rest of the way, Pohlkamp said, calling both potential all-conference players.

Gombos, who was ill from dehydration last week in a 22-19 win at St. Cloud Cathedral, was used more sparingly Friday by the Huskers. He didn’t play defense and was still suffering from cramps in the sweltering conditions.

The Huskers were very happy with Friday’s win in a place where the Pioneers don’t lose very often.

“It’s a tough place indeed,” Springer said. “It’s a big win for us especially because they’re 3A. They’re a tough, tough team. But we played as a family, played our hearts out.”

Holdingford 0 12 8 6 26
Pierz 3 0 0 0 3

P — Beau Winscher 31 field goal

H — Jordan Gombos 50 pass from Mitch Messman (pass failed)

H — Gombos 66 pass from Mi. Messman (pass failed)

H — Jeremy Springer 14 pass from Mi. Messman (Mi. Messman run)

H — Matt Messman 20 run (kick failed)

Individual statistics

Rushing: H — Cody Bialka 4-58, Ma. Messman 8-50, Mi. Messman 16-47, Taylor Nitz 2-37, Wyatt Johnson 4-19, Gombos 5-19, Devin Motschke 2-8. Total: 41-228. P — Tyler Millner 12-42, Nathan Athmann 7-37, Noah Boser 3-17, Jonny Kasper 6-17, Mac Gruber 1-(-10). Total: 29-103.

Passing: H — Mi. Messman 12-19-0 276. P — Gruber 6-13-3 65, Ethan Lochner 0-3-0 0.

Receiving: H — Bialka 4-33, Gombos 3-133, Springer 3-47, Brody Davidson 1-45, Ma. Messman 1-18. P — Millner 2-15, Chris Ortman 1-19, Evan Woitalla 1-13, Winscher 1-11, Boser 1-7.

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