Pierce squanders early lead, holds on to beat Winters

Curtis Vaughn hurdles a Winters defender in Friday's 53-46 win.

What a difference a week can make.

Just one week removed from a defensive battle that saw the Bears prevail 21–7, Winters and Pierce locked horns for the second time in as many weeks on Greg LeMaster Field. This time around, ‘defensive battle’ is the furthest thing from describing what took place on the football field: No. 3-seeded Pierce prevailed against No. 6-seeded Winters in an improbable 53-46 shootout to advance to the Northern Section Division IV semi-finals.
After an explosive first quarter that saw the Bears score 33 points, Pierce held a comfortable 26-point lead heading into the second quarter. That lead was cut to nine points by the intermission. At the end of the third quarter, Winters had brought themselves within five.

After being Pierce had held him in check for the better part of five quarters, Warriors quarterback Daniel Carrion almost single-handedly brought his team back from the brink. Carrion’s performance was nothing short of astounding: He completed over 83 percent of his passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns on the night, and rushed for 251 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. Carrion’s 422 total yards accounted for 91 percent of Winters’ 465 yards of total offense, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the Bears.
Pierce quarterback Dutch Kalfsbeek turned in a stellar night in his own right, rushing for 184 yards and four scores on 15 carries. He completed all three of his passes for 85 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown to Gabe Villa. Kalfsbeek’s final rushing touchdown came late in the fourth quarter, which put his team up by two possessions and helped seal the win for the Bears. Curtis Vaughn found the end-zone twice, and finished with 62 yards on 134 carries. Levi Kalfsbeek also scored for Pierce on the ground, and finished his night with 85 yards on 11 totes.

Tommy Davis led the way on defense, finishing with 10 tackles and a sack. Diego Ramirez snagged an interception.

Pierce (9-2) travels north this week to take on Durham (10-1) in the NSCIF D-IV semifinals. ■