The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers won in convincing fashion to open up Section 3AAA play on Oct. 22 at Wilson field.
BEA defeated Worthington 41-7 on a night where the temperature dropped to 38 degrees at kickoff.
"We are obviously pleased with the result and the production from both sides of the ball," coach Randy Kuechenmeister says. "Our guys came out determined and were really focused."
In a game where the Buccaneers never trailed, it was the fourth time this season that the maroon and gold's defense held its opponent to seven points or less.
The Trojans only gained 90 total yards of offense and only converted 1 of 10 third down opportunities.
Quinn Huisman recorded two sacks and forced a fumble. David Franta tallied seven tackles and Justin Ritter added six. The swarming defense also forced a season high seven total turnovers, scoring 27 points off those turnovers.
The Buccaneers got off to a quick start and never looked back.
After the Buccaneer defense held the Trojans to a three-and-out on their first possession, Franta sparked the offense early with a 27-yard touchdown run. He got the edge and sprinted past the Trojan defenders to give the maroon and gold an early 7-0 lead. Franta contributed 61 yards rushing on five attempts and 28 yards receiving with two touchdowns.
On Worthington's second possession, Franta kept the momentum going and intercepted Trojans quarterback Will Dudley.
Buc Quarterback Luke Schavey took advantage of the turnover and orchestrated a six-play drive, resulting in a 17-yard touchdown pass to Franta. Schavey was 6 of 11 for 64 yards for the game.
The Bucs took a 13-0 lead into the second quarter.
After the defense forced a fumble, Gus Phillips, who had 104 rushing yards, scored on the Bucs first possession of the quarter on a powerful 3-yard dive play.
The biggest defensive highlight of the night came when the Trojans were backed up close to their own goal line with 2:34 left before halftime. Greg Claeys intercepted Dudley, hugged the sideline and ran into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.
The Trojans offense answered with their first scoring drive of the game. A desperately needed 57-yard kick return from Jessie Guerra gave Worthington great starting field position. Two plays later, Dudley took a quarterback draw to the sidelines, cut right and ran for a 30-yard touchdown, narrowing the Buccaneer lead to a 27-7 halftime score.
BEA all but wrapped up the game after a 4-yard touchdown run by Phillips to open the third quarter. The score ballooned to 34-7.
The Trojans gained a measely 17 total yards in the second half. Their offense never seemed to get into a rhythm.
Justin Ritter added the final touches with a 26-yard touchdown scamper.
The victory propels the Buccaneers to a semifinals matchup versus the No. 1-seeded Belle Plaine Tigers at 2 p.m. Saturday in Belle Plaine, a game played after the Faribault County Register deadline. Game analysis and photos will be included in the next Register.
"We are going to have to play a perfect game," Kuechenmeister says. "We will prepare and see what happens."
The winner will face the victor of the other 3AAA semifinals game. No. 6-seeded Sibley East will travel to No. 2-seeded Fairmont on Saturday at 2 p.m. as well.