The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers completed two big tasks on Wednesday night at Wilson Field when they defeated the St. James Saints 48-8 in the final game of the regular season.
The Bucs ended with a perfect 8-0 record and they clinched sole possession of the South Central Conference title ending a four-year reign by the Fairmont Cardinals.
It was the first time in BEA's history that the football team had a perfect season. Blue Earth alone had accomplished the feat, but it has not been done since the school became Blue Earth Area.
"It feels good," Coach Randy Kuechenmeister said after the game. "It has been a pretty amazing season. The kids have worked really, really hard to get it done."
Kuechenmeister says the second part of the season is about to begin, and they will now concentrate on the post-season.
The No. 1 seeded Bucs received a bye in Tuesday's first round of the Section Tournament and will host a game on Saturday.
On Wednesday night, the Bucs defeated the Saints in much the same way they have won most of their games scoring early and often.
They put on a dizzying display against St. James, scoring four touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the first quarter.
All four TDs came on runs by four different Buccaneer players.
Junior quarterback Kysten Zierke did it first, on a seven-yard touchdown run. Then senior running back Carter Hanson went into the end zone on a two-yard burst. Junior wide receiver David Franta went on a 63-yard romp for the next score. And fellow junior wide receiver Gus Phillips had a 21-yard run for the fourth touchdown.
Senior exchange student Felix Harseim was perfect on all four extra point kicks and the Buccaneers had a huge 28-0 lead with plenty of time still left in the opening period.
The Bucs scored twice more in the second quarter.
Phillips found the end zone for the second time, with an eight-yard scamper.
Harseim's extra point kick put BEA up 35-0.
Senior Taylor Olson got the next score on a two-yard run, and Harseim's kick was true again, and now BEA was up 42-0 at the half.
Both teams agreed to have 'running time' throughout the second half, with limited clock stoppages.
St. James went to the air and moved the ball down the field, scoring in the third quarter on a 14-yard run. Their pass for two points after touchdown was successful, making the score 42-8.
BEA's final score came on a 58-yard run from Calvin Sanders, who blazed through the Saints' defense.
The snap for the kick attempt was high, but the Bucs nearly ran it in for two points, falling just a yard short.
That made the score 48-8, and, with no scoring in the fourth quarter, it ended up being the final.
BEA amassed 360 yards on the ground.
Franta led the team with 123 yards, despite only carrying the ball three times. He averaged 41 yards per carry.
Sanders had five carries for 77 yards, Luke Schavey four for 52, Phillips four for 42, Hanson five for 39 and Zierke four for 19.
St. James had 30 yards on the ground and 138 in the air.
The Bucs only completed one pass, out of four attempts, for 15 yards. Isaac Darrington was the receiver.
Darrington also had one pass interception on defense, as did Jacob Pettit and Austin Gustafson. Greg Claeys snagged a fumble recovery.