After knocking off the No. 4 seed the week before, the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers took on the Section 2AA No. 1 seeded Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers last Tuesday night in Waterville and pulled off the upset of the year.
BEA’s Bucs, the No. 5 seed, won 17-14 and gave the WEM Bucs their first loss of the season.
The victory propelled the maroon and gold Buccaneers into the Section 2AA championship game, and ended the season for the green and white Bucs.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m., BEA will take on the Maple River Eagles in a game to be played in Mapleton.
The No. 2 seeded Eagles were 17-14 winners over Kenyon-Wannamingo, seeded at No. 3, last Tuesday in Mapleton.
BEA now sports a 6-4 overall season record while Maple River is at 9-1.
While the Bucs of WEM seemed to have the advantage on the stats sheet after the game, it was the Bucs of BEA who had the higher number in the only stat that counts.
WEM had way more yards of offense, 330 to 183, and a lot more first downs, 20 compared to six for BEA. WEM also ran 67 plays to BEA’s 38.
None of that mattered, however, as the BEA Bucs defense managed to stop the WEM powerful offensive attack at just the right times.
And, that included two key stops late in the game. After BEA forced WEM into two fourth down and goal situations late in the game, the green and white Buccaneers failed to make a field goal twice that would have tied up the game and sent it into overtime.
WEM was the first team to score some points in the game.
After WEM’s first possession ended on a failed fourth and four attempt, and the BEA Bucs were forced to punt, the Waterville Bucs mounted a nice scoring drive.
They had a pass completion for 21 yards, then added a run of 22 yards before gaining the end zone on another 22-yard run.
The BEA Buccaneers were forced to punt again on their next possession, but then quickly got the ball back when Bailey Olson recovered a WEM fumble at the 37 yard line.
The first quarter came to a close with WEM in the lead, 7-0, but BEA was on the march.
Unfortunately, the maroon and gold tried a pass on both a third and goal and fourth and goal from the five yard line, and failed to connect on either try.
It was a quick exchange of possession after that.
BEA stopped WEM and forced them to punt, but quarterback Olson threw an interception on the next play.
BEA stopped WEM again, and forced another punt but this time the center and punter mishandled the snap and the ball rolled out of the end zone, giving the BEA Bucs their first score a two-point safety.
Logan Jahnke took the ensuing WEM kick 15 yards to the 45-yard line.
After four successful running plays, Olson connected with Camden Bowers for a 34-yard touchdown pass.
And then, Olson connected with Tyler Hannaman for a two-point conversion.
That put BEA ahead 10-7, a score that stood through half time.
Kolt Gorg ended WEM’s next possession with an interception. The BEA Bucs had to punt once again, and the half came to an end with a BEA Buccaneer sack of the WEM quarterback.
Both teams would score just one touchdown in the second half.
WEM, after forcing a BEA punt, got on the scoreboard first. They scored on a 30-yard pass completion.
That put WEM ahead, 14-10.
Neither team fared well for the rest of the third quarter. BEA had to punt twice, and the WEM Bucs’ next possession ended with Brandon Olson recovering a green and white fumble.
The fourth quarter started with a WEM punt to BEA’s 12 yard-line. And, just three plays later, the maroon and gold Buccaneers found the end zone.
First Bailey Olson connected on a 12-yard pass to Hannaman. Then Bowers ran for nine yards.
On the next play, Olson took the ball himself, broke through the line and took off for a 67-yard touchdown run.
It turned out to be the game winner. With the extra point kick by Fabien Riegelsberger, the BEA Bucs now led the other Buccaneers 17-14.
That proved to be the final score, but not without a dramatic finish to the game.
After marching down the field on their next possession, WEM went for it on a fourth down and five situation at the 20-yard line of BEA, and gained 15 yards.
That set up first and goal from the five for WEM. However, a penalty then made it first and goal from the 10-yard line.
After a one-yard run took the ball to the nine, WEM threw two incomplete passes and set up for a field goal try on fourth and goal.
It missed to the right.
The BEA Buccaneers took over, but Olson fumbled and WEM recovered it at the 32.
The green and white marched down the field, got to the eight-yard line, but a penalty moved it to the 16 yard line where it was a fourth and 12 with not much time on the clock.
WEM lined up for another field goal try, but the snap was muffed and BEA took over on downs.
The maroon and gold ran one more play, with Bailey taking a knee and the BEA players and fans setting up for a big celebration and at least one more game this year.
Olson was 5 of 15 for 72 yards passing and one touchdown and also carried the ball 14 times for 92 yards and the one long 67-yard touchdown.
Bowers had three carries for 13 yards and Brandon Olson had four totes for 10 yards. BEA had a total of 121 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Bowers also had two catches for 34 yards and one touchdown. Hannaman had two catches for 22 yards and Kaylan Legred had one reception for 16 yards.
The WEM Buccaneers were 6 of 13 passing for 70 yards. They also had 60 carries on the ground for 260 yards.