No. 2-ranked Bucs crush No. 10 Eagles, 40-0
BLUE EARTH — The Bucs finished their perfect regular season with their sixth 40-point performance.
Class AA No. 2-ranked Blue Earth Area beat the No. 10-rated Maple River Eagles 40-0 to finish the regular season 6-0 Wednesday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth.
“It’s just guys making plays, and everybody doing their job,” BEA head coach Randy Kuechenmeister said of his team’s undefeated success. “Everybody doing what they’re supposed to. We’ve had different things that seem to work in different games, so we just have to find what we’re having success at that game and stick with it.”
The Bucs controlled the game from the opening drive.
Austin Thielfoldt started the game with a 27-yard kickoff return to put the Bucs’ first play from scrimmage at their own 44.
Max Ehrich then powered through the Eagles’ defense for runs of 12, 24, 15 and 5 yards, respectively, to score with 10:36 left in the opening quarter.
The Eagles moved the ball on their opening drive, but Ehrich reached over the Maple River running back in the flat for an interception, taking it down to the 2 before being knocked out of bounds, but a block-in-the-back flag brought the ball back to Maple River’s 32 for the Bucs’ second drive.
Gavin Storbeck needed only one play to find Ashton Lloyd on a deep ball down the right sideline. Lloyd brought up his right hand at the last second and pulled the ball in one-handed for the score. Kean Hicks hit his second extra point kick to put BEA ahead 14-0 with 6:33 left in the first quarter.
Both defenses made major adjustments, causing the offenses to go three-and-out on the next four drives before the Bucs got another takeaway.
On third down, the Eagles threw to an out route on the right side, but the ball ended behind the receiver, where Cameron Anderson dove backward for an interception.
The Bucs gained 53 yards on the next five plays to reach the Maple River 16.
Storbeck then found Lloyd again, this time on a jump ball where Lloyd leaped over his defender for the score with 5:51 left in the first half.
BEA forced another three-and-out on defense, then put together a four-play scoring drive.
Ehrich carried the ball three yards to put the Bucs on the Eagles’ 49, then Storbeck launched a deep ball to Anderson, who beat a double-team, for a 47-yard reception, getting down to the 2.
Two plays later, Anderson ran a slant, then hit a one-step cut back toward the left sideline, where Storbeck connected with him for a score with 1:46 left.
BEA used two of its timeouts on the ensuing Maple River drive to get the ball back with 42 seconds left, then Storbeck found Anderson for a 9-yard pass, then a 66-yard scoring completion with Anderson once again beating a double team from the defenders, putting the Bucs ahead 34-0 with 27.9 seconds left in the half.
The Bucs scored the final touchdown of the matchup with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
Storbeck connected with Lloyd for a 31-yard post route, then two Ehrich runs later, found Anderson for a 21-yard completion with Anderson making an acrobatic play to avoid the sideline and the ground for an extra few yards. Anderson took a receiver reverse sweep 9 yards, Ehrich carried the ball 10 more, then Riley Anderson got the touchdown tote from 3 yards out.
There was a question whether the game would be played after severe weather Tuesday caused the field to be frozen through the day. Kuechenmeister said he felt fortunate just to have the opportunity for one last regular-season matchup.
“We came out and started running the ball, then they stacked the box and took the run away,” Kuechenmeister said. “We were able to adjust and make some big plays in the passing game. It was nice, having come out to the field in the morning and looking at the field, just being able to play tonight. It was a nice night to play and we feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to play and keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Bucs will find out their opponent for Tuesday’s opening round of the Section 2AA tournament Friday. Kuechenmeister said the Bucs are always looking for areas to improve and will continue in the playoffs.
“We’ve got to be a little more crisp in some things,” Kuechenmeister said. “We just have to keep playing, keep trying to improve. That’s the goal every time you play.”
Storbeck led the Bucs offense with nine completions on 11 attempts for 249 yards and four touchdowns to complement four carries for 17 yards.
Anderson totaled six catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns, while Lloyd had three receptions for 79. Ehrich carried the ball 13 times for 94 yards and one score.
Cooper Ochsendorf led the Maple River offense with 22 carries for 47 yards.
MR 0 0 0 0 — 0
BEA 14 20 6 0 — 40
BEA–Max Ehrich 5 run (Kean Hicks kick), 10:36.
BEA–Ashton Lloyd 32 pass from Gavin Storbeck (Kean Hicks kick), 6:33.
BEA–Lloyd 16 pass from Storbeck (Kean Hicks kick), 5:51.
BEA–Cameron Anderson 3 pass from Storbeck (Kean Hicks kick), 1:46.
BEA–Cameron Anderson 66 pass from Storbeck (kick failed), 0:27.9.
BEA–Riley Anderson 3 run (kick failed), 4:53.
First downs: BEA 13; MR 5. Rushing: BEA 30-175; MR 34-57. Passing: BEA 9-12-0-249; MR 2-9-2-8. Fumbles-lost: BEA 1-1; MR 3-0. Penalties: BEA 3-35; MR 1-15.
Offense: Passing: Storbeck (BEA) 9-11-0-249; Parker Meyers (BEA) 0-1-0-0; Landon Fox (MR) 1-8-2-11; Boden Simon (MR) 1-1-0-(-3). Rushing: Ehrich (BEA) 13-94; Ochsendorf (MR) 22-47. Receiving: Cameron Anderson (BEA) 6-170; Lloyd (BEA) 3-79.
Defense: Interceptions: Ehrich (BEA); Cameron Anderson (BEA). Sacks: Nathan Murphy (BEA); Blake Ripley (BEA). Fumble recovery: Ethan McGregor (MR).