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Section Champions!

Bucs down Maple River 39-12 to finish year with perfect 7-0 record

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Nov 29, 2020

The Blue Earth Area football team received their Section Championship trophy and then went to their sideline to sing the school fight song to their fans.

The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers defeated the Maple River Eagles on Nov. 11, to claim the South Central White District title. The two teams met again on Friday, Nov. 20, with the Section 2AA title on the line. Once again the Bucs came out on top, defeating the Eagles 39-12. It was the second consecutive Section championship for the Maroon and Gold who finished the year with a perfect 7-0 record. Maple River ended their season with a 5-3 record.

So BEA qualified for the State Tournament, but, because of COVID-19, there will be no further playoff games this year.

“I have a lot of respect for these kids and the way they handled this season,” Bucs head coach Randy Kuechenmeister said. “We were grateful we were able to play all of our scheduled games. Some teams were not so fortunate.”

The game began with Luke Schonborn returning Maple River’s opening kick to the Buccaneer 45-yard line. Senior running back Ehrich utilized his blocking on the left side of the line to pick up 19 yards on his first carry to move the ball into Eagles’ territory at the 36-yard line.

Four plays later the Bucs came up one yard short of a first down and the Eagles took over on the Bucs’ 27-yard line. The BEA defense held Maple River to only three yards on their first possession. In an effort to keep the ball away from the Bucs’ dangerous return man, Cameron Anderson, the Eagles’ punter aimed for the sidelines to kick the ball out-of-bounds.

The Eagles succeeded in keeping the ball out of Anderson’s hands, but the punt traveled only 13 yards giving the Bucs excellent field possession on the Maple River 43-yard line.

Ehrich ran over the left side for 11 yards, then over the right side for nine yards and then back over the left side for a 23-yard touchdown run. Kean Hicks’ extra-point kick was blocked and BEA had a 6-0 lead with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bucs kicked off and their defense once again stifled the Eagles’ offense with linebacker Adam Schavey tackling Maple River’s Caden Ochsendorf for a seven-yard loss on third down to force another Eagles’ punt. The Bucs were winning the battle of field position and took over on the Maple River 44-yard line.

Following a one-yard run by Ehrich, Storbeck connected with wide receiver Ashton Lloyd for a 10-yard gain to the 33-yard line. The next play Storbeck completed a pass to Anderson. Anderson caught the ball at the 26-yard line, spun out of the grasp of two would-be tacklers and then ran away from two other Eagle defenders for a 33-yard touchdown. BEA’s two-point attempt failed and the Bucs held a 12-0 lead with 3:47 to go in the first quarter.

Maple River trimmed BEA’s lead to 12-6 early in the second quarter. Facing a fourth down and needing five yards to go for a first down, the Eagles caught the Bucs’ blitzing and had the right play called which allowed running back Boden Simon to break free for a 62-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt failed and the score stood at BEA 12, Maple River 6, with 11 minutes to go until half time.

Austin Thielfoldt caught the ensuing kickoff at the 12-yard line and returned it 11 yards and BEA took over on their own 23-yard line. The Bucs would put together their longest drive of the game to march 77 yards in 11 plays for another touchdown. After moving the ball down the field to the Maple River eight-yard line, Ehrich went in untouched behind the right side of the line for his second score of the night. The two-point conversion failed and the Maroon and Gold held an 18-6 lead with 6:57 left in the first half.

BEA had one more scoring opportunity in the first half but turned the ball over on an interception at the Eagles’ five-yard line.

The Bucs kicked off to the Eagles to start the second half and forced the visitors to punt after only three plays. The kick sailed out-of-bounds at the BEA 37-yard line.

It only took one play for the Bucs to score again. Ehrich took the hand-off and ran over the right side. He broke free and headed to the sideline. He faked turning back to the middle of the field to freeze one Eagles’ defender and then sprinted to the end zone for a 63-yard touchdown run. Kean Hicks booted the ball through the uprights for the extra point and BEA led 25-6 with 9:36 to go in the third quarter.

Just over two minutes later the crowd was treated to a thrilling punt return by Anderson. The fleet-footed senior picked up the ball at his own 34-yard line and headed towards the Bucs sideline before reversing field and picking up a wall of blockers as he ran in front of the Maple River bench. He was finally brought down at the Eagles’ 20-yard line.

BEA moved the ball inside the 10-yard line before a fumble allowed Maple River to regain possession of the ball. Seven plays later the Eagles fumbled the ball and the Bucs took over needing to cover only 28 yards for another score.

Ehrich’s run over left tackle on the first play of the fourth quarter resulted in a four-yard touchdown run. The kick by Hicks was good and the Bucs led 32-6 with 11:54 to go in the game.

Maple River would score one more time to close the gap to 32-12. Thielfoldt received the ensuing kickoff at the BEA nine-yard line and returned the ball 75 yards to the 16-yard line of the Eagles. Ehrich picked up his fifth touchdown of the game with a 16-yard run up the middle. The extra point was good to end the scoring for the game and give the Bucs a 39-12 lead.

BEA ended the game with 17 first downs and 330 total yards of offense while Maple River had 11 first downs and 260 yards.

“This team worked hard to execute well,” Kuechenmeister commented. “They are smart kids.”

Ehrich rushed 24 times for 257 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 10.71 yards per carry. Quarterback Gavin Storbeck completed 6 of 9 passes for 70 yards and one touchdown.

Anderson had two receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown. Lloyd caught three passes for 22 yards. Thielfoldt had one pass reception for eight yards.

Schavey led the defense with 16 tackles, Anders Fering had 11, Hicks had 10, Nick Frank had eight, Luke Mertens had six and Ehrich had five. Anderson had an interception and Nick Barke had a fumble recovery.

It was the final football game as a BEA Buccaneer for 17 seniors on the team. Those players are Ehrich, Fering, Ty Peterson, Thielfoldt, Cameron Anderson, Keegan O’Brien, Cole Warmka, Storbeck, Donavon Weerts, Jacob Olson, Riley Anderson, Mertens, Ryan Madetzke, James Allis, Frank, Logan Johnson and Ian Cornelio.