DECORAH — When you’re facing the defending state champion, you have to make a calculated risk on what to stop. Central DeWitt chose to try and take away the run. But Decorah proved it could pass, as well.
Bryce Pierce threw three touchdown passes as the VIkings ended the Sabers’ season 34-7 in the first round of the Iowa Class 3A football playoffs Wednesday night.
“The first thing we wanted to take away was the run,” Sabers coach Mike Miller said. “We felt we did a job of that, but we knew that would leave us vulnerable to the play-action. That obviously showed its head, and give them credit for making big plays.”
Pierce was 5-for-6 with 91 yards and three touchdowns. He also led Decorah in rushing with 116 yards, including an 81-yard run in the second half to set up Decorah’s final score.
The Vikings scored on their initial posession. A 74-yard, five-play drive ended with a Pierce-to-Holt Johansen 27-yard scoring connection.
After the Sabers went three-and-out on offense, their defense got the momentum back as Lucas Looney recovered a Johansen fumble at the Sabers’ 44. Eleven plays later, Jacob Grell scored a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
“To be able and get the ball and get a touchdown there was big for us,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, a good team like Decorah has the ability to respond, and they certainly did.”
Decorah took the lead for good on the next possession, with a four-play, 72-yard drive capped by a Pierce-to-Bryton Meyer 26-yard touchdown pass with 1:50 to play in the first quarter.
The next Decorah possession resulted in the third touchdown pass of the night for Pierce, connecting with Cole Svestka for a 51-yard touchdown to give Decorah a 21-7 lead with 10:06 left in the second quarter.