BLUE EARTH - The No. 4-seeded Blue Earth Area Bucs scored four touchdowns in the first half to down the No. 5-seeded Worthington Trojans in Section 3AAA quarterfinal football action on Tuesday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth.
The Bucs (6-3) advance to face the No. 1-seeded Belle Plaine Tigers in the Section 3AAA semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday in Belle Plaine.
"We knew that to keep playing we needed to win tonight's game, and now we get to keep playing," said Blue Earth Area head coach Randy Kuechenmeister. "We will have to look and see what we need to do to prepare for Belle Plaine, but each game is going to be a tough one in the playoffs."
AROUND THE CORNER — Blue Earth Area running back David Franta (5) sprints around the corner as Worthington defender Jessie Guerra (6) looks to make the stop during Section 3AAA quarterfinal football action Tuesday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth. (Courtesy of Kevin Mertens/Faribault County Register)
The Trojans finished their season with a 3-6 record.
Blue Earth Area seniors David Franta and Gus Phillips combined for 142 rushing yards and three of the Bucs' four touchdowns in the opening half.
Buc quarterback Luke Schavey also took to the ground running, totaling 96 yards on eight carries in the game.
"It was a good win for us tonight. We had good control of the line of scrimmage and were able to do a lot of things on offense," said Kuechenmeister.
After the Bucs' defense forced the Trojans to punt after a failed third down on the opening drive, they drove 58 yards to find the end zone.
Phillips started the first Buc drive with two carries for seven yards, before Schavey spun and dodged defenders for a 19-yard gain.
Phillips then churned his feet for another five-yard run before Franta put the exclamation point on the score.
"Our guys came out ready to play tonight. I thought that on both sides of the ball it was a good game and they were just ready to go," said Kuechenmeister.
Franta raced around the left edge for the 27-yard score with 7:43 left in the opening quarter.
Justus Thelen sent the PAT kick through the uprights to take the 7-0 lead.
Franta then added fuel to the Bucs' momentum and turned around on defense to intercept a Will Dudley pass on the opening play of the Trojans' drive.
Schavey took to the air on the first play of the ensuing drive, zipping a 9-yard toss to Bailey Olson, who had two catches for 19 yards.
Franta then raced through the defense for a 30-yard gain before Phillips tacked on another 9-yard run.
Schavey, who completed 6 of 12 of his passes for 64 yards in the game, then floated a pass to the end zone for Franta's second score of the game to go up 13-0.
Franta had two catches for 28 yards in the game, to add to the Bucs' offense.
Both teams traded drives, before the Bucs were able to capitalize on the Trojans second turnover of the game.
Dudley mishandled a snap for the Trojans causing a fumble, which Phillips was able to pounce on for the Bucs on Worthington's 15-yard line.
The Bucs then needed just four plays to cross the goal line.
Schavey connected with Derek Johnson on an 11-yard pass over the middle, before Phillips was able to race in for the 3-yard score with 6:27 left in the quarter. Thelen made it 20-0 with his PAT kick.
Blue Earth Area's defense even provided some offense, with nose guard Greg Claeys snagging a Dudley pass at the line of scrimmage for his first touchdown with the 13-yard pick-six.
This time, the Trojans would respond, with Jessie Guerra, who ran the ball four times for 50 yards, tearing off a 57-yard kick return after the Blue Earth Area score.
On second down, Dudley, who ran for 49 yards on six carries, motored through the Bucs defense for the 26-yard score.
Will Mulder tacked on a PAT kick, making it 27-7 with just over two minutes left in the half.
The Bucs were able to keep the Trojans from mounting a comeback, with the help of Phillips second touchdown and 27-yard scoring run by Justin Ritter.
After Blue Earth Area held the Trojans on a fourth down and five, Phillips took off for 11 yards on the opening play of the drive.
With the ball on the Trojan 27, Ritter steamrolled his way to the end zone for the score.
WOR 0 7 0 0 - 7
BEA 13 14 14 0 - 41
BEA - David Franta 27 run (Justus Thelen kick), 7:43.
BEA - Franta 17 yard pass from Luke Schavey (Thelen kick), 5:30.
BEA - Gus Phillips 3 run (Thelen kick), 6:27.
BEA - Greg Claeys 13 yard interception (Thelen kick), 2:34.
WOR - Will Dudley 26 run (Will Mulder kick), 2:08.
BEA - Phillips 3 run (Thelen kick), 9:15.
BEA - Justin Ritter 27 run (Thelen kick), 6:41.
Offense: Rushing: BEA 44-338; WOR 28-122. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Yards): BEA 6-12-0-68; WOR 2-10-2-8. Penalties: BEA 2-20; WOR 3-20. Fumbles-lost: BEA 4-2; WOR 2-2.
Offense: Rushing: Luke Schavey (BEA) 8-96; Gus Phillips (BEA) 16-73; David Franta 5-69; Jessie Guerra (WOR) 4-50. Passing: Luke Schavey (BEA) 6-12-0-64; Will Dudley (WOR) 2-10-2-8. Receiving: Franta (BEA) 2-28; Bailey Olson (BEA) 2-19; Derek Johnson (BEA) 1-11.
Defense: Interceptions: David Franta (BEA) and Greg Claeys (BEA). Fumble Recoveries: Marcus Potter (WOR); Trevor Wietzema (WOR); Claeys (BEA); Phillips (BEA).