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Rochester Lourdes defeats defending 3A champion Pierz

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 11/17/18, 4:45PM CST


The Eagles' 25-20 victory snapped the top-ranked Pioneers' 24-game winning streak.

Rochester Lourdes running back Zach Jungels (29) ran with the ball in the first half while being chased by Pierz's Zachary Trout. Photo: Shari L. Gross • shari.gross@startribune.com

Rochester Lourdes’ football coaches felt something missing even as the Eagles built an undefeated record this season.

“To be honest, we haven’t had much adversity this year,” coach Mike Kesler said. “We always kind of wondered how that was going to be handled.”

The Class 3A semifinal against defending champion and top-ranked Pierz on Saturday provided a proving ground. The Eagles (2014, 2016) and the Pioneers (2015, 2017) have split the past four state championships.

Lourdes endured the game’s tension and momentum swings with a 25-20 victory. The second-ranked Eagles snapped Pierz’s 24-game winning streak and advance to the Prep Bowl at 1 p.m. next Saturday.

“The guys stepped up today and had that next-play mindset,” Kesler said.

When trouble knocked, Lourdes (13-0) responded. The defense stopped two Pierz chances inside the red zone.

First report

Rochester Lourdes dethroned defending champion Pierz with a 25-20 victory on Saturday in the Class 3A semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The second-ranked Eagles snapped top-ranked Pierz’s 24-game winning streak. They advance to the Prep Bowl at 1 p.m. next Saturday. Lourdes (2014, 2016) and Pierz (2015, 2017) have split the past four state championships.

Andrew Peine’s short touchdown run with 2:50 left clinched the victory.

Defense made the difference as Lourdes (13-0) held the Pioneers (11-1) well below their previous season-low of 32 points scored.

The offenses came alive in the second quarter with four consecutive scoring drives combined.

Lourdes went ahead 7-0 on a Zach Jungels run. Then Pierz used a touchdown from Carlson Huls and two-point conversion to go ahead 8-7.

Back came Lourdes. A Jake Groteboer run and a two-point conversion allowed the Eagles’ re-take the lead at 15-8.

Pierz scored next on a Reese Kapsner run but the two-point conversion failed and Lourdes maintained a 15-14 halftime lead.

Check back later for more on the game.

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