Pierz was down to its third-string quarterback Friday at Park Center, but it didn't matter. Noah Boser, a running-back-turned-quarterback, rushed for a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Starter Aaron Weber threw touchdown passes to Nick Herold and Michael Meyer. Lane Girtz rushed for a first-quarter score as Pierz (12-0) reached its first title game since winning the championship in 2004. For Tri-City United (10-2), Carter Rynda caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Smisek.

Key of game: Pierz's ability to overcome injuries to Weber and backup Preston Rocheleau. "Sprained ankles, my goodness, we got enough of them," coach Leo Pohlkamp said.

Quote: "You just got to expect the unexpected. I knew I'd step up and play big because I got some big shoes to fill in Aaron Weber." —Noah Boser

One thing to know: Tri-City United, formed by Montgomery-Lonsdale and LeCenter, was making its first state appearance in the program's four-year history. "We definitely thought this would be the year to make it to state," said Rynda, one of 23 seniors.

Nate Gotlieb