Bucs blast Eagles for homecoming win
On Sept. 29, the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers (3-2) steamrolled yet another opponent with an extraordinary ground attack. The Bucs came out on top, 34-14 as their latest victim happened to be the Windom Area Eagles during homecoming week.
With a raucous home crowd on their side, the BEA offense collected 22 first downs and a whopping 335 rushing yards on the evening. BEA head coach Rand Kuechenmeister was very pleased with the added excitement the crowd provided for homecoming.
“Homecoming is definitely fun for the kids because it may be their last time playing in front of the home fans,” Kuechenmeister said. “Our kids always look to play their best, but they really wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Defensively, the Bucs held the Eagles to 12 first downs in the game. Kuechenmeister believes success in the trenches is what ultimately led to the win.
“We were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Being able to run the ball, stop the run, and force Windom to pass I thought were keys to the game.”
Offensively, a total of six rushes by BEA went for 20 yards or more. Coach Kuechenmeister singled out excellent downfield blocking by his receiving unit as the reason for so many huge gains.
“Jonah Legred and Jacob Vaske have really improved their blocking this season. Clayton Johnson, Caelan Sanders, and Joe Schavey also stepped up in that department,” Kuechenmeister said. “They did a great job collectively.”
The dynamic rushing duo of Blake Barnett and Zach Buseman accounted for 285 of BEA’s season-high 335 yard rushing total.
The first quarter featured a hotly contested, back-and-forth battle with both teams reaching the endzone. Blue Earth Area’s offense struck first with an off-tackle power run that resulted in a 24-yard touchdown gallop by Barnett on the opening possession of the game.
Meanwhile, Windom Area quickly answered as they marched 70 yards downfield in 10 plays on their way to paydirt. Windom Area’s touchdown drive evened up the score at seven.
The Bucs wrestled back control of the game in the second quarter as Buseman found his way into the endzone twice in the period.
With the Bucs seemingly in control of the game heading towards the halftime break, the Eagles answered back with a quick four-play touchdown drive that covered 66 yards of real estate. After two periods of play, the Buccaneers maintained a 20-14 lead.
In the locker room at halftime, coach Kuechenmeister stressed execution on defense to help limit Windom’s offensive opportunities in the second half.
“We didn’t make some plays towards the end of the first half, but that’s the way the game goes sometime,” Kuechenmeister explained. “I just told our kids to focus on their assignments, and that’s what we were able to do.”
The Bucs simply began to assert their will by overpowering the Eagles in the second half. A quarterback scramble up the middle for a seven yard touchdown by Barnett in the third quarter and a two-yard plunge by Buseman in the fourth quarter helped to seal the Bucs victory.
By ripping off big gains on first down, BEA’s offense was able to set up manageable second and third down opportunities to help milk the clock and shorten the game.
In fact, Blue Earth Area converted six of their 12 third down conversion attempts, while also converting on all four of their fourth down conversion attempts in the game. Because of their prolific ground game, Blue Earth Area only attempted eight passes in the game.
Putting their three-game winning streak on the line, the Bucs took on the Luverne Cardinals on the road on Oct. 6. Results from this game will appear in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register.