Bucs in State Finals!
The game was close for most of the first half.
But in the end, the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers flexed their muscles and ran over the Perham Yellowjackets.
The Buccaneers downed the Yellowjackets 31-21 in the quarterfinals of the Prep Bowl in the game played on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Mall of America Field – Metrodome.
The win puts the Bucs into the State Championship game against the Rochester Lourdes Eagles a game played on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 1 p.m., again at the Metrodome.
Details and photos of the championship game will be included in the next edition of the Faribault County Register and also will be updated on both the Register’s website and Facebook page.
The Eagles were 20-16 come-from-behind winners over the Annandale Cardinals, in a game played just before the Buccaneer-Yellowjacket clash.
Against Perham, the Bucs came out and showed the Yellowjackets that they had come to play.
BEA scored on all of their first five possessions.
After forcing the Yellowjackets to punt on their first possession, the Buccaneers marched down the field with the ball, scoring on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Kysten Zierke to Carter Hanson with 7:04 remaining in the first quarter.
Felix Harseim’s kick for extra point was good, and the Bucs led 7-0.
Perham used a big 45-yard pass play to set up a score on their next possession.
The Yellowjackets ran the ball in from the 9-yard line for a touchdown with 5:03 left in the first.
Their kick was also good, tying up the score at 7-7.
BEA responded quickly, scoring less than two minutes later when Zierke connected on a pass to David Franta good for a 33-yard touchdown.
Harseim, who had a perfect night of kicking, put the ball through the uprights for the PAT.
BEA was up 14-7 as the first quarter ended.
The Bucs were knocking on the door again early in the second quarter with a first and goal situation.
But, three tries into the end zone failed. However, Harseim’s attempt at a 28-yard field goal did not, and the Bucs were ahead 17-7 with 9:01 left in the first half.
Perham responded, moving the ball down the field with some nice passes. They ended the drive with a 12-yard pass into the end zone for another score with 4:38 left in the half. Their kick missed so BEA led 17-13.
There was time enough for another Buccaneer scoring drive as BEA methodically marched down the field.
With just 20 seconds left in the half, Franta scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard scamper into the end zone.
With Harseim’s one point kick added on, BEA’s lead increased to 24-13 at the half.
The Bucs got the opening kickoff of the second half and Hanson got a nice 30 yard return to start the drive.
Franta added a quick run of 13 yards, then Gus Phillips peeled off one of 16 yards followed by one of 14 yards.
One more Phillips run took the ball all the way to the six yard line.
It was Franta who went in for another 5-yard touchdown run with 9:17 still showing on the Metrodome clock, in the third quarter.
The perfect Harseim kick put the Bucs up 31-13.
After forcing another Yellowjacket punt, the Bucs took over and for the very first time all game, they were unable to score.
With 1:37 left in the third quarter, the Bucs went for it on fourth and three and failed to convert. The Yellowjackets took over on downs.
Perham took that possession down the field and as the fourth quarter began, scored on a one yard run.
The pass attempt for a two-point conversion was good, putting the score at 31-21.
Both teams attempted to convert on fourth downs in their next drives and failed to do so.
The Bucs defense completely stopped the Yellowjackets tries to score in the latter part of the fourth quarter.
Franta led the defense with 12 tackles. Hanson added 11 and Zierke nine. Phillips had a key sack.
Coach Randy Kuechenmeister says the Bucs’ game plan was to run the ball effectively and also to shut down the Yellowjackets and their highly-rated quarterback, Jordan Hein.
BEA was able to do both.
The defense held the high-powered Perham offense to just 63 yards rushing, 196 passing, for 259 total yards.
Meanwhile BEA gained 289 yards on the ground and 355 total yards.
Zierke had 104 yards rushing on 22 attempts.
Hanson had 68 on 10 carries, Franta 63 on eight totes and Phillips 54 on 10 rushes.
Zierke was also 4 of 7 passing for 66 yards.
He spread the ball around with Hanson (33 yards), Steven Plocker (16 yards), Isaac Darrington (11 yards) and Phillips (six yards) all making one catch each.
Now the 12-0 Bucs, ranked No. 2 in most polls most of the second half of the season, take on the 13-0 and No. 1 ranked Eagles for the Class AAA State Championship.