MINNEAPOLIS — A quick-strike offense gave Pierz an early lead. The Pioneers defense sealed the school's second state championship.
Noah Boser ran for two touchdowns and caught a third as Pierz beat Jackson County Central 36-8 Saturday to win the Class 3A state championship.
Lane Girtz added 119 yards rushing and Aaron Weber threw two touchdown passes for the Pioneers (13-0), who won their second state title and first since 2004. Boser rushed for 107 yards, led the team with eight tackles and added a sack.
Ryan Salzwedel had a touchdown reception for Jackson County Central (10-3), but the Huskies lost fumbles twice deep in Pierz territory.
"Offense wins ballgames, defense wins championships," said Pierz coach Leo Pohlkamp.
Averaging 422 yards of offense, Jackson County Central was held to 281 — just 113 in the second half. The Huskies had scored at least 44 points in eight of their last 10 games.
"We knew they have two good running backs, a good line and that was a challenge defensively," Pohlkamp said. "They probably didn't see the same look twice."
Avery Henderson had 89 yards rushing for Jackson County Central, and Keegan Moore, a two-time state champion wrestler who recently committed to wrestle at Oklahoma State, added 84.
Boser's 3-yard run gave Pierz a 22-8 lead early in the third quarter. Jackson County Central then marched down the field before Moore fumbled at the 3. The Huskies also fumbled at the Pierz 15 in the first half and Easton Bahr threw an interception.
"We knew we couldn't afford to turn the ball over, and that's been one of the strengths of our football team," said Huskies coach Tom Schuller. "Last week we turned the ball over three times and I knew if that was the case this week against this quality of a team there'd be virtually no chance."
Three plays into the game, Pierz went ahead 7-0 when Michael Meyer caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Weber, but the Huskies took an 8-7 lead late in the opening quarter when Bahr and Salzwedel connected for a 37-yard score. Moore scored on the 2-point conversion.
On the first play after a Jackson County Central punt midway through the second, Boser got a step behind his defender and hauled in a 49-yard pass from Weber, dragging a defender across the goal line. Jonny Kasper's 2-point conversion made it 15-8.
"We practice that play pretty much every week in practice and he put it right there," Boser said.