Milaca Football Coach Randy Johnson felt his team played a good first quarter in its 2013 season opener Thursday, Aug., 29, at Pierz.
After that, the roof fell in as the Pioneers rolled to a 40-7 non-conference victory. Pierz led 13-7 at halftime before rolling up 21 points in the third quarter and six in the fourth quarter.
“We ran the ball well in the first quarter but we didn’t get the score we needed to pick up some momentum,” said Johnson. “We made some mistakes right away in the third quarter and Pierz took advantage of them.
“We knew Pierz would be a tough opener. They are very strong up front and they have several talented players at the skill positions.”
“I felt the game was closer than the final score,” said Pierz Coach Leo Pohlkamp. “We got some crucial turnovers that opened the game up.
“Overall, I was happy with our play. We played well in the line, opening nice holes for our backs, who ran hard. Also, we were happy for the new kids who stepped it up for their first varsity game.”
Milaca’s lone touchdown came on a 10-yard pass play from junior quarterback Mike Garber to senior wide receiver Trevor Roelofs late in the first quarter.
Wolves senior quarterback Brian Kiel completed 10 of 16 passes for 89 yards. He led Milaca’s running game with 45 yards on 14 carries. Garber completed two of three passes for 21 yards and sophomore Nathan Hass completed two of two attempts for 22 yards.
Junior receiver Nic Wolbert had five receptions for 44 yards while Garber, senior Mason Hoskins, Roelofs and Levi Hunt each had two receptions.
The Pioneers had four running backs with 40 or more yards. Tyler Millner led the way with 104 yards on 10 carries, including a scoring run of 20 yards. Robbie Skaja totaled 77 yards and had a touchdown run of 47 yards.
The Pioneers did not attempt a pass and rushed for 320 yards.
“I thought we would be more physical on both sides of the ball,” said Johnson. “We played like we were waiting for something to happen rather than making things happen.
“We thought our running game would be more effective but we were unable to control the line of scrimmage after the first quarter. Our quarterbacks and receivers were bright spots.”
The Wolves are at Foley Friday night at 7 for the Granite Ridge Conference opener for both teams. The Falcons were the lone GRC team to open with a non-conference victory as they toppled Jackson County Central 42-7 on the road Friday.
“Foley looks better than ever,” said Johnson. “They have speed, size, depth and experience.
“We were very impressed watching the film of their win at Jackson County Central. Foley is our big rival and that should help us put the loss at Pierz behind us.”
The Falcons are led by senior speedster Tyler Beehler and running back Luke Kelvington. Beehler and quarterback Dallas Gapinski connected on scoring passes of 43 and 29 yards against JCC while Kelvington rushed for 154 yards on 32 carries.
“We had a good opener,” said Foley Coach Larry Herm. “Now, we have to be ready for Milaca.”
In other openers involving GRC teams last week, Becker lost to Hutchinson 16-13 in overtime, Princeton fell to Monticello 20-6, Mora lost to Redwood Falls 21-15, Little Falls lost to Waseca 41-13, Albany lost to Benilde-St. Margaret’s 41-8, Zimmerman lost to Fridley 19-7 and St. Cloud Cathedral fell to Holdingford 22-19.
Milaca’s first home game is Friday, Sept. 13, against Zimmerman at Claffy Field.