Tom's Pick: Pioneers relish road trip to face Proctor

Tom's Pick: Pioneers relish road trip to face Proctor

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Tom's Pick: Pioneers relish road trip to face Proctor

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DULUTH

It’s another road trip for the Pierz Pioneers.

That’s what happens when you’re the fourth seed in your section. After the first round, everything’s a road trip.

“We’ve had pretty much everyone on their home field,” Pierz senior captain Tyler Millner said. “I think it’ll be OK.”

The Pioneers are used to it. They play Proctor at 7 p.m. Friday at Griggs Field at James S. Malosky Stadium on the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus.

It’s the first round of the state Class 3A quarterfinals. Pierz (8-3) makes its 10th state appearance, but first in 3A.

The Pioneers were Section 5-3A’s fourth seed, but beat No. 1 Foley 23-12, then knocked off No. 3 St. Cloud Cathedral 32-21 at St. Cloud State. Husky Stadium is Cathedral’s home field.

Proctor plays its home games in Proctor, but the Rails are not far from home. The Rails (8-2) make their seventh state appearance since 1985 and their first since 2008. That year, Proctor lost to Albany in the state quarterfinals in Duluth.

This season’s team lost to Hermantown 22-0 and Cloquet 17-10. Hermantown and Cloquet met for the Section 7-4A championship, with Cloquet prevailing 23-14.

Pierz is one of three Central Minnesota Conference teams in the state tournament and one of five that played in a section final.

Besides the Pioneers, Maple Lake (7-4) and Holdingford (11-0) also qualified for the state Class 2A playoffs. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted lost to Maple Lake 48-21 in the Section 4-2A final at SCSU.

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (9-2) fell to Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity 29-12 in the Section 4A final at Sauk Centre.

Pierz looks forward to its long road trip.

“We’ll come out on the field and execute our game plan like we always do,” said Millner, who added he planned to make a college visit to Minnesota-Duluth. “Hopefully, that’ll be good enough.

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