The Blue Earth Area Buccaneer football team showed why they had received the No. 1 seed in Class 3AAA, Section 3.
On Friday night, Nov. 2 the Bucs clicked on all cylinders on offense, and threw up a stifling defense, and shut out the Tri-City United Titans 35-0 to claim the Section trophy.
Last year the Bucs, in Class 2AA, also claimed the Section crown.
Moving up a class didn't seem to slow down the team, which now boasts a 10-0 record, a Section trophy, and a trip to State for the second year in a row.
The Bucs will move into the State Tournament with their first game on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m. at Lakeville North High School.
Their foe will be the St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders, the team which defeated the Fairmont Cardinals last year in the Class 3AAA State Championship game.
The Bucs/Crusaders game was played after the deadline for this issue of the Faribault County Register. Details and photos will be included in the next edition.
Winner of that game moves on to play in the Mall of America Field (Metrodome) the next weekend.
Against the Titans, the Buccaneers scored at least once in every quarter, while keeping their opponents scoreless all evening.
BEA took the opening kick off and marched down the field, converting on a third and nine with a pass to the one-yard line.
Buc quarterback Kysten Zierke took it in from there, and BEA grabbed an early 6-0 lead with nearly eight minutes still left in the period.
After forcing the Titans to punt, the Bucs took over on their own 38-yard line.
Zierke reared back and hit Isaac Darrington for a 46-yard touchdown bomb.
The Bucs' Zierke passed to Dallas Barslou for the two-point conversion, making up for the first extra point try that ended with a blocked kick.
With 3:39 left in the first quarter, the Bucs were up 14-0.
After forcing another Titan punt one of nine they had to make during the game the Bucs took over and started marching down the field.
They were added with a big run on a double reverse by Gus Phillips. However, the drive stalled.
The second quarter opened with the Bucs going on fourth down and failing to convert. Then both teams traded punts, and the Titans picked off a Buccaneer pass.
But, with BEA back in possession of the ball and 2:23 left in the half, the Bucs struck again.
Another long pass from Zierke to Darrington was a 54-yard touchdown completion.
The try for extra point failed, but BEA was still up 20-0, a score they took into the halftime break.
Both teams struggled to do much in the third quarter, until Steven Plocker and Brad More caused a Titan fumble and Greg Claeys pounced on it.
The Bucs capitalized on the turnover almost immediately.
Zierke went back to pass and was nearly sacked, when David Franta came out of nowhere and blocked the Titan defender completely out of the play.
Zierke now had time to complete a 22-yard pass to Darrington for their third touchdown connection of the game.
Zierke hit Plocker for a two-point conversion pass and the Bucs now led 28-0 with only 40 seconds left in the third period.
Franta stopped the Titans first possession in the fourth quarter with an interception that he nearly ran back for a touchdown.
With many of the starters out, the Buccaneers still scored one more time.
Calvin Sanders took the ball into the end zone on a three yard run with 3:42 left in the game.
The kick for extra point by Felix Harseim was good, making the final score 35-0.
The stats from the game show the total domination by the Buccaneers.
BEA had 19 first downs to TCU's six. They had 383 yards of total offense to the Titans 148. The Bucs had the ball for 28:31, while the Titans had it for 19:29.
Phillips led in rushing with exactly 100 yards on 11 attempts. Zierke added 47 on 16 carries and Sanders had 42 on six.
The Bucs ran for 226 yards, compared to the Titans' 25 yards.
Zierke was 8 of 18 for 157 yards, three TDs and one interception.
His favorite target was Darrington who had 126 yards on five catches and accounted for all three passing touchdowns. Barslou had the one grab for 23 yards.
The Titans were 12 of 30 for 123 yards and had two pass attempts intercepted by the Bucs. Nick Beattie picked off one, Franta the other.