Bucs lose Little Brown Jug to Cards
Missed opportunities, costly penalties, and facing a big and physical offensive line averaging more than 240 pounds all played a part in the Buccaneer football team’s 35-7 loss to the host Fairmont Cardinals in South Central Conference action Sept. 19.
The Bucs conference record now stands at 1-1, while the Cardinals moved to 1-0 in league play. The loss also meant that the Little Brown Jug returned to Fairmont after being in Blue Earth the last two years.
The first quarter consisted of two drives.
Fairmont opened the game with a kick return to their own 22 yard line. They proceeded to march down the field before the Buc defense stiffened.
Facing a fourth down and goal situation just inside the five yard line, Cardinal quarterback Justin Heinrich fired an incomplete pass and the Bucs took over – needing to march 95 plus yards to reach the end zone.
Utilizing a mixture of the running and passing game, the Bucs drove down the field and still held the ball as the first quarter ended.
The second quarter brought trouble as the first of the costly penalties occurred. It came on a third down play with the Bucs just short of a first down inside the 15 yard line.
A holding penalty in the backfield moved the Bucs back to the 28 yard line and they were unable to recover as Fairmont took over on downs.
It took Fairmont just eight plays to drive 72 yards. Heinrich crossed the goal line on a quarterback sneak. The kick was good and with 8:51 remaining in the first half the Cardinals held a 7-0 lead.
The Bucs started their next drive on the 15 yard line. With Joe Franta running and Nate Carr on the receiving end of quarterback Garrett Anderson’s passes, they moved the ball out to their own 45 yard line. Anderson powered his way for an 18-yard gain to put the ball in Fairmont territory at the 37-yard line. Another pass to Carr advanced the Bucs to the 22.
It was then that another costly holding penalty pushed the Bucs back to the 40 and they ended up having to punt the ball with 2:16 remaining in the half.
Starting at their own 15, the Cardinals used a long pass reception and a personal foul penalty against the Bucs to move the ball across midfield to the Buc 40-yard line.
The Card’s fullback Conner Guetter broke loose for a long run but lost the ball. Collin Nienhaus recovered the fumble for the Bucs at their own 18-yard line.
Each team had one more turn on offense but were unable to have any success and the first half ended with the Bucs trailing 7-0.
Receiving the second half kick off, the Bucs again were able to move the ball and reached Fairmont’s 18-yard line before an interception ended the drive.
The Cardinals needed only four plays to turn the miscue into a score. Cardinal running back Richie Haycraft ran it in from 19 yards out. The PAT was good and with 6:45 to go in the third quarter Blue Earth Area trailed 14-0.
The Bucs were unable to get anything going. Following a Bucs punt, Fairmont put together another scoring drive but failed to convert the extra point – they now led 20-0.
The Bucs lone touchdown would come after the Cardinals had increased the lead to 27-0 with 7:49 to go in the game.
This time it was the home team committing the penalties as a personal foul and a roughing the passer penalty helped the Bucs move the ball to the Fairmont 22-yard line. Joe Franta scampered in from there to make the score 22-7 following the extra point kick by Justin Duelge.
The Cards would add one more score late in the game as the reserves got some playing time.
“We didn’t score when we needed to,” says Buccaneer coach Randy Kuechenmeister. “That took a toll on us defensively.”
Anderson completed 16 of 37 passes for 125 yards while running for 70 yards on 15 attempts. Franta rushed 12 times for 68 yards and one touchdown. Nate Carr had seven receptions for 58 yards and Franta snared five passes for 33 yards.
Jake Lee had 13 tackles for the Bucs while Daniel Eckhardt added 11 tackles.