BLUE EARTH - The Class 3A, No. 2-ranked Blue Earth Area Bucs churned out 166 yards rushing to pound the Waseca Bluejays 17-7 in a South Central Conference football victory on Friday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth.
Bucs' quarterback Kysten Zierke ran 22 times for 132 of BEA's 166 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the home team to the Homecoming victory.
On the opening Bucs' drive, Zierke connected with Isaac Darrington on a 21-yard pass to get the ball into Bluejays' territory.
FINDING THE BLOCK — Blue Earth Area running back Carter Hanson (3) picks up a block by Buc teammate Dallas Barslou (2) to gain extra yardage as Waseca defender Erik Balfe (7) gives chase during South Central Conference football action Friday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth. Courtesy of Kevin Mertens Photography
Seven- and 10-yard runs by Zierke got the ball to the Waseca 20 for a first down. Another run for nine yards by Zierke on third down and two put the ball on the 3.
A Blue Earth Area false start and a fumble recovery set up a 26-yard field goal by Felix Harseim to make it 3-0 with 4:37 left in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing drive, the Bluejays' touchdown had the Bucs trailing for the first time all season.
Waseca opened the drive with a Brock Kolander 6-yard run and followed it up with a Leo Hoehn sweep for 9 yards.
On third and 10, the Bluejays quarterback Thomas O'Neil found Kolander for an 8-yard pass and then again for a 39-yard pass on first down to put the ball on the Bucs' 1.
Zach Gehloff pounded the 1-yard touchdown run through the middle to put Waseca up 7-3 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.
Blue Earth Area responded well and scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to take back the lead.
The Bucs capped a 68-yard drive with the first of Zierke's two touchdowns to take the 10-7 lead in the second quarter.
"We knew it would be a physical game. We always seem to have these type of games with Waseca," said Blue Earth Area head coach Randy Kuechenmeister.
A 2-yard run by David Franta on first down started out the drive for the Bucs. Zierke connected with Steven Plocker on third down for a 9-yard pass to pick up the first down on the 43.
Zierke and Darrington connected on slant passes for nine and 18 yards, giving the Bucs a first down on the 12.
Zierke would do the rest, running for eight yards on the first down and finishing off the drive with a four-yard scamper on second down to punch it in to make it 10-7 with 8:21 left in the half.
The Bluejays' Jacob Laube returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to set up Waseca's drive.
On second and 14, O'Neil found Kolander for the 19-yard pass, making it first down on the Waseca 48.
Blue Earth Area's defense moved the Bluejays back on first and second downs, with Gus Phillips recording a sack for a loss of four yards.
The Bucs then stopped Kolander on third down, forcing Waseca to punt.
"Our defense has made plays for us all year and they made some great plays tonight, especially on some big plays when we really needed them to," said Kuechenmeister.
After Blue Earth Area went three and out on the next drive, but a 61-yard punt put the Bluejays on their own 20.
On first down, the Bluejays mishandled the snap and the Bucs' Greg Claeys recovered the fumble, giving the BEA offense great position.
On first and 11, after Blue Earth Area got flagged for a holding penalty, Zierke eluded a sack with the Bluejays clinging to his jersey and reversed the play for a 7-yard run.
With another Buc penalty on second down, Zierke scampered for another 12 yards on second and nine, putting the ball on the 2-yard line.
Zierke closed out the drive with a surge through the middle to score to make it 17-7 with 2:06 left in the half.
The Bucs' defense did the rest in the second half, shutting down the Waseca offense and making big stops when necessary.
"We made big plays on both sides at crucial times when we needed to. There was the big punt that really flipped the field and our defense held them scoreless in the second half," said Kuechenmeister.
The Bucs' Carter Hanson finished with eight carries for 24 yards, while Darrington had five catches for 71 yards to add to the offense.
Zierke was 7-for-17 passing for 85 yards for the Bucs.
The Bluejays' O'Neil completed nine of 18 passing for 40 yards, and rushed 12 times for 17 yards.
Gehloff carried the ball eight times for Waseca for 21 yards and the only touchdown, while Kolander carried it nine times for 20 yards.
Austin Stroda had six catches for 115 yards for the Bluejays and Kolander had three for 25 in the game.
Blue Earth Area (5-0) travels to Class 3A, No. 6-ranked St. Peter for an SCC game at 7 p.m. next Friday night, while Waseca (2-3) hosts New Ulm at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Waseca 7 0 0 0 - 7
B.E. Area 3 14 0 0 - 17
BEA - Felix Harseim 26 yard field goal, 4:37.
W - Zach Gehloff 1 run (Dylan Hermanstorfer kick), 1:16.
BEA - Kysten Zierke 4 run (Harseim kick), 8:21.
BEA - Zierke 2 run (Harseim kick), 2:06.
First Downs: Waseca 11; BEA 13. Rushing: Waseca 35-61; BEA 42-166. Passing: Waseca 9-18-0-40; BEA 7-17-0-85. Fumbles-lost: Waseca 2-1; BEA 2-0. Penalties: Waseca 5-50; BEA 8-66.
Offense: Rushing: Kysten Zierke (BEA) 22-132; Carter Hanson (BEA) 8-24; Zach Gehloff (W) 8-21; Brock Kolander (W) 9-20. Passing: Thomas O'Neil (W) 9-18-0-40; Zierke (BEA) 7-17-0-85. Receiving: Isaac Darrington (BEA) 5-71; Austin Stroda (W) 6-115; Kolander (W) 3-25.
Defense: Fumble recovery: Greg Claeys (BEA).
Pocahontas Area 32, North Union 30 - The Indians snuck by the Warriors football team 32-30 during Iowa prep action Friday night in Armstrong.
North Union senior Ty Anderson scored two touchdowns on rushes of one and 15 yards to lead the Warrior offense.
Cody Runksmeier and Jacob Braddock each scored rushing touchdowns for North Union in the second half on runs of 1 and 33 yards to help make it a two-point game.
Jannis Lesko kicked all three PAT kicks, along with a 25-yard field goal, for the Warriors.
Braddock ran 11 times for 78 yards to pace the ground game, while Runksmeier ran five times for 59 yards.
Marshall Klingenberg had 13 carries for 53 yards for North Union and Anderson had eight carries for 49 yards.
Garrett Johnson and Anderson also led the defense, each recovering a fumble.
North Union (1-5) travels to Paullina, Iowa, to play South O'Brien at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Madelia 66, Alden-Conger 8 - Blackhawks quarterback Adam Cooling and wide receiver Devin Ulman connected for touchdown passes of 92, 11 and 16 yards to lead Madelia in a 66-8 Southern Confederacy League victory over the Knights on Friday night in Madelia.
Cooling completed 12 of 20 passes for 278 yards and threw one interception to lead a 626-yard offensive effort by the Blackhawks.
Jake Denn had five carries for 206 of Madelia's 348 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 89 and two yards.
Madelia (4-1) travels to play Cleveland at 7 p.m. next Friday night, while Alden-Conger (0-5) hosts Granada-Huntley-East Chain/ Truman at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Martin County West 54, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 12 - The Mavericks stampeded to a 54-12 victory over the Thunderbirds during Gopher Valley Conference action Friday night in Winthrop.
No individual statistics were reported.
Martin County West (3-2) plays host to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial at 7 p.m. next Friday night in Sherburn.
Cleveland 47, Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 8 - The Clippers sailed to a 47-8 triumph over the Jaguars during Southern Confederacy League action Friday night in Truman.
No individual statistics were reported.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (1-4) travels to Alden next Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff against Alden-Conger.