Football squad finished year 9-3
The football season started this past fall with quite a few questions which is not unusual for a high school program. Losses in personnel from the previous year due to seniors graduating are just a fact of life in high school football.
Blue Earth Area had finished the 2018 football season with a 3-6 record.
The Bucs went into their preseason scrimmage against St. Clair unsure of who the starting quarterback would be.
Head coach Randy Kuechenmeister stated before the season he was still in the process of learning more about his own team.
“We still have a lot to figure out and we will not have everybody available for the first game because of injuries and other things,” Kuechenmeister said, while the Bucs prepared for thier opening contest against Maple River.
Coach Kuechenmeister and staff did figure some things out and by the end of the season the Bucs had compiled a record of 9-3. Their three losses were all against teams which qualified for the State Tournament.
Things began to sort themselves out during BEA’s first game on the road against Maple River.
The Bucs shutout the Eagles 29-0. Gavin Storbeck completed 13 of 20 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. His main targets were seniors Koby Nagel and Caelan Sanders and junior Cameron Anderson. Meanwhile, the defense held their opponents to 131 yards of total offense.
The Bucs were without Adam Griffin for the first three games. Max Ehrich and leading tackler Zac Murphy were also injured during the contest and would miss many games.
Next, BEA rolled into New Richland and then rolled over the Panthers. The Bucs put up 50 points on the scoreboard in the first half on their way to a 57-6 win.
Storbeck was 11-for-12 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bucs also utilized Koby Nagel at the quarterback position in a “wildcat” formation. Nagel ended the night with 119 yards on 18 carries.
BEA played host to St. Peter on Sept. 13, in the Bucs’ first home game of the year. It was a high-scoring contest in which the Bucs would jump out to big leads only to have the Saints come back and close the gap but the Maroon and Gold prevailed 46-36.
Caelan Sanders had a big night with six receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a 75-yard touchdown. Anderson also had a great performance. He caught four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns and returned an interception for another touchdown. Nagel surpassed 100 yards rushing for the second consecutive game.
A 61-8 homecoming victory on Sept. 20, over the Windom Eagles, gave BEA a 4-0 record. The Eagles took an early 8-6 lead before the Bucs reeled off 55 consecutive points. The Maroon and Gold outgained the Eagles 526 yards to 126.
Nagel ran for 185 yards and Storbeck completed 10 of 11 passes for 144 yards.
The Bucs winning streak came to an end on Sept. 27 when they traveled to Pipestone to take on the Arrows in their Homecoming game.
Pipestone won the game 40-21. It was a game in which the Bucs uncharacteristically made a lot of mistakes, both mentally and physically.
In spite of the loss, Nagel still achieved another 100-yard rushing game by gaining 156 yards on 22 attempts.
The Bucs returned home on Friday, Oct. 4, to host the Jackson County Central Huskies. The Huskies were undefeated and rated second in the state in Class AAA.
JCC led 14-0 heading into the second half but the Bucs came out and scored on their first two drives of the half to go up 15-14.
The Huskies rebounded and took a 20-15 lead with 1:51 left in the third quarter and then held off the Bucs to get the win.
“I felt there were three key games in the season. The win over St. Peter was a big win for us,” Kuechenmeister explained. “Losing to Pipestone was kind of a wake-up call for the team, but then we rebounded the next week against a very good JCC team and showed we could play with them.”
The Bucs finished the season with a 45-6 win over the Saint James Saints at home and then went on the road to defeat the Redwood Valley Cardinals 18-6.
The Cardinals came into the game ranked sixth in Class AA but were held to just 100 yards of total offense. The win improved the Bucs record to 6-2 for the regular season.
BEA entered the Section 2AA playoffs seeded No. 1. They won their quarterfinal game at home over Norwood-Young America 34-8. Then they knocked off Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 50-22 in the semifinals at Wilson Field.
Next, they faced the Medford Tigers on Friday, Nov. 1, in the Section 2AA Championship in a game played on the artificial turf at Janesville.
The Bucs scored on their second play from scrimmage and coasted to a 59-15 victory to qualify for the State Tournament. BEA lost to the Minneapolis North Polars 26-20 in the opening round of the State Tournament.
“We developed into a cohesive unit and had an excellent season,” Kuechen- meister said.
The Bucs will lose 15 seniors off of this years team but will bring back a lot of juniors and sophomores from this years’ team who have gained valuable experience.