Bucs win playoff opener
As the third seed in the Section 2A playoff bracket, the Blue Earth Area Bucs gave their home fans plenty to cheer about during the opening round of the Minnesota State High School League playoffs. The Bucs put together a dominant performance on Oct. 24 as they trounced the Medford Tigers, 34-15.
Things got off to a promising start early in the first period as the Bucs managed to record a safety following a botched punt attempt by Medford. The Tigers answered back with an 11 play, 78-yard drive that produced a field goal to begin the second quarter.
Later in the period, BEA quarterback Hunter Bleess spotted a seam and accelerated up the middle of the Medford defense. Thirty-two yards later, Bleess was high-fiving teammates in the end zone with the first touchdown of the game.
For the evening, Bleess rushed for a total of 87 yards, and threw for an additional 116 yards. With four games now under his belt as the Bucs’ starting signal caller, BEA head coach Randy Kuechenmeister thinks Bleess is settling into his new role on the team.
“Hunter is improving all the time,” said Kuechenmeister. “He’s got a great grasp of what’s going on out on the field.”
Later in the second quarter, adversity came Blue Earth’s way by virtue of a bad call. Medford quarterback Javis VonRuden scrambled outside the pocket and was several yards past the line of scrimmage when he released the ball downfield.
As it turned out, the illegal forward pass was not flagged, and the pass was completed for a 23-yard touchdown. The missed call allowed Medford to take a 9-8 lead going into halftime.
Regardless of the blown call, allowing VonRuden to routinely escape the pocket was a point of concern for Bucs’ coach Kuechenmeister heading into the second half. The Bucs’ mentor was happy with how his defense adjusted in the second half.
“He’s a good athlete, so containing him in the pocket is easier said than done,” said Kuechenmeister. “I thought we contained him much better in the second half by staying in our rush lanes, slowing down, and just doing our job.”
To the excitement of the BEA fans, the Bucs reeled off four unanswered touchdowns to put the game out of reach in the second half. Buccaneers’ all-purpose threat Caelan Sanders started off the scoring spree by outracing Medford’s defense to the pylons on an eight-yard jet sweep in the third quarter.
Shortly after that score, BEA homecoming king Jacob Vaske made his presence felt on defense as he stripped Medford’s Nate Meixner of the ball. Vaske was able to scoop up the loose football, and dashed 58 yards down the Buccaneers’ sideline into the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, Blue Earth Area receiver Jonah Legred did his best Adam Theilen impression as he outjumped a Medford defender for the football in the far corner of the end zone for the third Buccaneer touchdown of the half.
Later in the fourth, running back Rylee McGuire finished off the offensive assault for the Bucs as he barrelled through the weary Tiger defense for a six-yard touchdown. All told, the Bucs collected 205 rushing yards on the evening while also holding Medford to 78 yards rushing for the game.
In the next round of the playoffs, BEA took on second-seeded Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Saturday, Oct. 28. Results from this game will be available in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register.