East Buchanan football coach Jerry Alden admitted his staff wasn’t thrilled when the postseason pairings were released.
He anticipated a first-round game against one of the Buccaneers’ Class A District 5 foes. Playing Bellevue in consecutive weeks in a rematch of the regular-season finale that the Comets won, 41-22, was unexpected.
Quickly, the coach realized it may not be so bad, despite the lopsided loss.
“Basically, all we did was focus on our one single game that we played that night and what they did to us,” Alden said. “That was pretty much the difference. We found some things on film that they ran and tendencies that gave us a big of an advantage. Our kids executed the game plan to perfection.”
East Buchanan flipped the script on Bellevue to the tune of a 43-point swing from the previous week, recording a 30-6 victory Friday night at Bellevue.
“What a difference a week makes,” Alden said. “The kids played well.”
In the previous meeting, Bellevue stunned the Buccaneers on the opening kickoff, returning it for a touchdown and never looking back.
This time, East Buchanan withstood early shots in a scoreless first quarter. The Buccaneers owned an 8-0 halftime lead on T.J. Lau’s second-quarter touchdown run and 2-point conversion. Confidence began to grow.
“We just felt with the way our defense was playing that we were going to be in the ballgame,” Alden said. “Offensively, in the second half, we just took control, moving the football.”
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A.J. Kremer lead the way with 99 rushing yards, Tyler Williams had 52 and Tanner Thurn added 44. Williams, Thurn and Kaden Brockmeyer all had touchdowns.
The Buccaneers defense made a huge improvement since giving up 400 total yards to Bellevue in the first meeting. They allowed just 164 yards, intercepting two passes. The special teams contributed, recovering a squib kick that led to a touchdown.
“We got up three scores and I think that’s when you could feel the air went out of the tire for Bellevue,” Alden said. “Our kids kept playing hard.”
The Buccaneers earned their first postseason win since 2008. The feat was not lost on the current players, who celebrated by ringing the victory bell at their home field upon returning about midnight.
“During our pregame walk-through on Thursday night, I told them I wanted to do something we haven’t done in a long time,” Alden said. “I said I want to ring that victory bell. We have never done that.
“I forgot all about it. We got back, off the bus and got everything unloaded. I got a phone call from one of the kids and the whole team was standing at the field waiting to ring it. … The kids knew about it. They relished that victory.”
East Buchanan will face No. 5 MFL MarMac (7-1) in the second round at Monona.
Cullen McShane's TD haul
MFL MarMac’s Cullen McShane was perfect in a 70-7 Class A first-round victory over Postville Friday night.
McShane scored on all six touches, including two defensive touchdowns. The junior running back rushed three times for 100 yards, including a 55-yard scoring jaunt. He also reeled in a 36-yard TD pass from quarterback Max Havlicek.
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Maybe more impressively, McShane returned two fumbles — 24 and 18 yards — to the end zone.
MFL MarMac’s Gabe McGeough added 135 yards and two TDs rushing. Bulldogs Coach Dan Anderson said starters did not play the second half.
“Our guys were sharp and crisp,” Anderson said. “We told them to not look at the scoreboard, just play great football every snap, they did that and more. Our starters didn’t waste a single snap last night, they did their jobs to near perfection.”
Familiar foes for West Delaware
West Delaware might suffer from a case of deja vu again next week. Four weeks, four games and just two opponents.
The Class 3A ninth-ranked Hawks played Waterloo East in the regular-season finale and the first round of the Class 3A playoffs Friday.
West Delaware (8-1) advanced to host Western Dubuque (5-3) in the second round. The Hawks defeated the Bobcats, 49-14, on Oct. 2.
West Delaware wasn’t bothered by back-to-back games against the same team. The Hawks beat East 56-6, tallying 373 total yards.
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