The Minnewaska Lakers scored a touchdown with 1:34 left in the first half to cut a 23-8 deficit to 23-14. The Laker players and fans sensed an upset. Instead, Pierz proceeded to go 67 yards in eight plays, scoring again on the final play of the first half to go up 30-14 and Pierz would go on to score the only two touchdowns of the second half for a 43-14 victory, Friday night at MAHS.
Pierz had 347 total yards on 66 plays, with 317 of those coming on the ground, while Minnewaska ran 45 plays from scrimmage for 248 net yards, with 163 of those yards coming through the air.
The Lakers stayed in the game thanks to four Pierz turnovers. Included in the game was an 82-yard touchdown pass from PJ Johnson to Austin Ballhagen early in the second quarter, which could be a school record for the Lakers.
Minnewaska is set to host another home game this Friday at 7 p.m. against Melrose Area. The Dutchmen fell to Rockford this past Friday, 7-0.
Pierz 43, Minnewaska 14
The Lakers stopped Pierz on its first offensive series and Austin Weber recovered a fumble for the Lakers on Pierz’ second series. However, the Lakers failed to capitalize and Pierz eventually took a 7-0 lead with 1:01 left in the first quarter.
A bad snap from center on a punt led to another Pierz score early in the second quarter, but the Lakers would rebound with an electrifying 82-yard touchdown pass from PJ Johnson to Austin Ballhagen, who hauled in the pass down the left sidelines and raced untouched to the end zone. Johnson added the run for two points and suddenly, the Lakers were within 15-8.
Pierz proceeded to score again to go ahead 23-8. The Lakers came close to scoring again thanks to another long pass of 52 yards from Johnson to Ballhagen, but the drive stalled at the Pierz 13-yard line.
The Lakers got the ball right back moments later on an interception by Ballhagen and this time, Minnewaska went on a three-play, 31-yard scoring drive, with Johnson running the ball over from the two for a touchdown.
Pierz took back the momentum with its long scoring drive to end the first half and the Lakers never threatened again in the second half, turning the ball over three times.
Johnson ended the game with three completions for 163 yards, including two for 134 yards to Ballhagen and one for 29 yards to Austin Weber.
Jack Majerus rushed eight times for 37 yards, while Johnson ran nine times for 30 yards and Conner Stein had one carry for 19 yards. Majerus also had an interception for the Lakers, and Levi Johnson also recovered a fumble.
Jacob LeBlanc ran 13 times for 71 yards and one touchdown for Pierz, while Reese Young carried 15 times for 95 yards and QB Garrett Cummings had four carries for two net yards and two touchdowns.
Pierz 43, at Lakers 14
Pierz 7 23 6 7 — 43
Minnewaska 0 14 0 0 — 14
Team stats Min Pierz
First downs 7 23
Rushes-net yards 30-85 59-317
Pass-cp-int-yds 15-3-1-163 7-2-2-30
Total yards 248 347
Punts-average 3-25 2-17
Fumbles-lost 4-2 2-2
3rd down effic 1-9 5-10
Penalties-yards 5-32 1-10
Rushing — MIN-Jack Majerus 8-37, PJ Johnson 9-30, Conner Stein 1-19, Austin Weber 5-3, Ballhagen 5-(-4)
Passing (attempts-comp-intercept-yrds) — MIN-PJ Johnson 10-3-0-163; Austin Ballhagen 5-0-1-0
Receiving (catches-yds) — MIN-Ballhagen 2-134, Austin Weber 1-29
Punts — MIN-Connor Stein 3-25