BEA makes Section finals
Big plays catapulted the Blue Earth Area football team to a 48-20 Section 3AA semifinal victory over Maple River Oct. 29.
The Bucs scored four times on plays of 30 yards or more to outgun the opportunistic Eagle offense.
“It was a hard hitting contest,” head coach Randy Kuechenmeister says. “We ran some nice plays and executed them well.”
Jacob Olson’s three touchdown, 248 yard rushing performance and David Franta’s explosive playmaking ability served as the primary catalysts for the destructive scores.
“The people up front were doing their job,” Kuechenmeister says. “Our fullback was blocking well and Jacob was running hard.”
BEA’s rushing attack clicked on all cylinders netting 345 yards to wear down Maple River.
On defense, the Bucs made the Eagles one dimensional, giving up 324 yards through the air while holding them to -18 yards on the ground.
The two teams traded scores in the first half before the Bucs erupted in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 27-7.
“The kids played tough,” Kuechenmeister says. “They earned the game.”
To begin the contest, Olson jump-started the Buccaneer offense on a scintillating 74-yard touchdown run.
Olson won the sprint to the end zone, carving his way through three levels of coverage unscathed.
Maple River countered with two long scoring plays of their own in between touchdowns by Olson.
Eagle quarterback Garret Fitzsimmons connected with Josiah Breiter on a deep post route for a 60-yard score.
The two teams traded punts until Maple River opened up their play book on third-and-long.
Fitzsimmons swung the ball out to Breiter behind the line of scrimmage allowing for the receiver to pass the ball to a wide open Ryan Sohre for a 55-yard scoring play.
The Bucs charged down the field following the trick play, capitalizing off a solid kickoff return by Franta to their own 40-yard line. The Bucs eventually scored on a 6-yard Olson run off tackle.
Carter Hanson captured the lead for good late in the first half scoring on a well designed passing play.
The Bucs benefited from excellent field position after three tackles for loss on Maple River’s previous possession, allowing BEA to dial up a long-yardage strike.
Hanson snuck into the Maple River defensive backfield from his halfback position on a wheel route for a 51-yard touchdown reception giving BEA a 21-13 lead at the half.
After a block in the back on the opening kickoff of the second half, BEA took over on their own 15-yard line.
Olson gained 5 yards on first down to reach the 20. The Bucs were stopped for no gain on second down setting up a crucial third-and-5.
Quarterback Brady Anderson dropped back, found a streaking Franta across the middle and the supersonic sophomore won the 80-yard foot race to the goal line for a momentous touchdown reception, putting BEA ahead 27-13.
Anderson’s biggest passing play of the game highlighted his 8-for-12, 207-yard, three touchdown showcase.
After an Olson interception, Anderson found Franta again for his second touchdown reception in as many possessions.
Franta soared through the air for a 3-yard touchdown after Anderson bought enough time for him to finish the route.
“We just try to find something that works,” Kuechenmeister says. “We have a lot of confidence in our quarterback.”
The catch boosted BEA’s lead to 34-13 with 5:39 remaining in the third quarter.
Maple River ran the same double pass play to Sohre for a 27-yard score to end the streak of 27 unanswered points scored by BEA late in the third quarter.
The onside kick following the touchdown by Maple River was unsuccessful and BEA immediately took advantage of the good field position.
Olson needed just two carries to travel 55 yards into the end zone. The scoring play featured the running back darting to the right for a 48-yard dash.
The touchdown gave BEA a 41-20 lead with 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
After a Bradyn Olsen interception to start the fourth quarter, BEA was primed for their final score of the game.
Franta struck for the last of his three touchdowns, running by Eagle defenders for a 27-yard touchdown.
Following BEA’s final touchdown of the afternoon, the defense held tough and the offense ran the clock out to cement a 48-20 victory.
BEA played in the Section final against Luverne Friday evening after the Register’s deadline.
The winner will move on to the State Football Quarterfinals Nov. 11 in St. Peter.