Every time Jordan quarterback Jonathan Draheim dropped back Saturday, he saw extra Pierz defensive backs shadowing receivers and choking off passing lanes.
Those defenders, meanwhile, began to trust their coaches' odd schemes. Using six defensive backs neutralized Draheim in a 55-26 Pierz romp in the Class 3A football state semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Pioneers (12-0) held Draheim to 116 passing yards, his second-lowest output of the season.
"It's hard to go four [receivers] against six [defenders]," said Draheim, who threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Adam Kreuser late in the first half for the Hubmen (9-4). "We figured they'd make us prove it by running."
Pierz handled the running, gaining four touchdowns and 222 of its 421 total rushing yards in the first half, which ended with the Pioneers up 34-6. Pierz tried only two passes in the first half, the second a 24-yard touchdown from Preston Rocheleau to Cohlton Boser on fourth-and-2. Boser started the drive with an interception.
"We ran the first three plays and then caught them off guard," said Boser, who was wide open on his reception.
The Pioneers advance to Saturday's Prep Bowl having won the Class 2A title in 2004 and the 3A title in 2015.
"We saw film and we saw that teams could run on them," Pierz coach Leo Pohlkamp said. "Stopping them was the big thing."
Pierz scored first on a Carson Huls touchdown run. Jordan fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Pioneers recovered 8 yards from the end zone and one play later went ahead 14-0.
Jordan also fumbled on a third-quarter kickoff return. Hubmen coach Bo Wasurick said of the miscues, "That'll sink you most games."
David La Vaque