CLASS 3A Saturday, 1 p.m.
Jackson County Central Huskies (10-2) vs. Pierz Pioneers (12-0)
Jim says: How good is Pierz? Before a 29-6 semifinal victory over Tri-City United, the Pioneers were dealing with health issues, notably ankle injuries to starting QB Aaron Weber and leading rusher Jonny Kasper. No problem. Playing its typical swarming defense, Pierz held Tri-City in check. Last season, the Pioneers’ bid to play for the Class 3A championship fell just short when Rochester Lourdes converted a two-point conversion in overtime to beat them. That is motivation enough.
The pick: Pierz 21, Jackson County Central 13
David says: Top-ranked Pierz pitched four shutouts this fall. The craziest stat, however, is this one: The Pioneers outscored opponents 128-0 in the first quarter. Imagine that. You essentially get only three quarters of meaningful offensive opportunities. Tough to win that way, which is why no one has defeated Pierz. Even if Jackson County Central can score early and take a surprise lead, expect Pierz to quickly counter.
The pick: Pierz 31, Jackson County Central 7