BLUE EARTH - The Blue Earth Area Bucs scored four times in five minutes on their way to a 45-0 shutout nonconference football win over the United South Central Rebels on Friday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth.
Bucs' junior quarterback Kysten Zierke started out the scoring with 6:12 left in the second quarter, connecting on a 21-yard pass to Isaac Darrington in the end zone to make it 12-0.
After the Rebels turned the ball over on downs, Zierke scored on a 33-yard TD run before Felix Harseim's PAT kick made it 19-0.
BREAKING AWAY — Blue Earth Area running back Carter Hanson (right) breaks away from United South Central defender Lucas George’s grasp during the Bucs’ season-opening football game Friday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth. Buc quarterback Kysten Zierke (back) looks on. Photo by Kevin Mertens/Faribault County Register
The Blue Earth Area defense then took an opportunity to get on the board as Dallas Barslou intercepted a pass from Rebel quarterback Travis Brown with 3:11 left in the half and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown.
After a three-and-out by the Rebels, the Bucs' Carter Hanson snuck past USC for a 53-yard TD on the ensuing punt return with 1:18 left to make it 32-0 at the half.
"I thought in the first half we had some mishaps, we had some issues and some penalties, but we came out and played better in the second half," said Blue Earth Area coach Randy Kuechenmeister.
Blue Earth Area's defense set the tone early, holding USC to minus 10 yards of offense through its first two offensive series.
Zierke gave the Bucs their first scoring opportunity in the opening minutes of the game. The BEA linebacker hit USC's running back Walker Linde in the end zone, popping the ball out for Bucs' Gus Phillips to recover for the touchdown with 5:18 left in the opening quarter.
"Our defense really dictated the tone of the game for us from the beginning. We made plays and it really set up our scoring," said Kuechenmeister.
Blue Earth Area added to its lead in the second half with an 18-yard run along the Rebel sideline to score with 10:20 left in the third quarter to make it 39-0.
With time winding down in the fourth, Calvin Sanders scored the final touchdown for the Bucs, scampering 34 yards.
Zierke was 5 of 7 passing for 63 yards, throwing for one TD and one interception. He also ran nine times for 66 yards and scored twice for the Bucs.
Phillips ran four times for 44 yards and scored one touchdown in the win, while Sanders ran six times for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Hanson caught two passes for 37 yards and Darrington caught one pass for 22 yards and a touchdown.
The Rebels' Brown was 8 of 16 in passing for 28 yards, with one interception. Dallas Olson led their offense with four carries for 35 yards.
Blue Earth Area (1-0) travels to St. Paul Highland Park for a 7 p.m. nonconference game next Friday.
United South Central (1-1) travels to Faribault for a 7 p.m. game against Bethlehem Academy next Friday.
USC 0 0 0 0 - 0
BEA 6 26 13 0 - 45
BEA - Gus Phillips fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed), 5:18.
BEA - Isaac Darrington 21 yard pass from Kysten Zierke (pass failed), 6:12.
BEA - Zierke 33 run (Felix Harseim kick), 5:06.
BEA - Dallas Barslou 35 interception (Harseim kick), 3:11.
BEA - Carter Hanson 53 punt return (kick fail), 1:18.
BEA - Zierke 18 run (Harseim kick), 10:20.
BEA - Calvin Sanders 34 run (kick fail), 4:45.
First downs: BEA 18; USC 20. Rushing: BEA 6-35; USC 5-50. Passing: BEA 5-7-1-63; USC 8-16-1-28. Fumbles-lost: BEA 1-0; USC 4-2. Penalties: BEA 6-35; USC 5-50.
Offense: Rushing: Calvin Sanders (BEA) 6-66; Kysten Zierke (BEA) 9-62; Gus Phillips (BEA) 4-45; Dallas Olson (USC) 4-35. Passing: Kysten Zierke (BEA) 5-7-1-63; Travis Brown (USC) 8-16-1-28. Receiving: Carter Hanson (BEA) 2-37; Isaac Darrington (BEA) 1-22; Riley Kloos (USC) 1-22; Steven Plocker (BEA) 2-8.
Defense: Interceptions: Dylan Herman (USC) and Dallas Barslou (BEA). Fumble recoveries: Gus Phillips (BEA) and Micah Twedt (BEA).
Madelia 28, Renville County West 8 - Bryon Forstner returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds left in the game to cap the Blackhawks' 28-8 season-opening win over the Renville County West Jaguars on Friday in Madelia.
Senior quarterback Adam Cooling connected on an 8-yard pass to Wes Olson for the opening touchdown with 8:07 left in the first quarter to make it 6-0.
Jon Whitney added to the Blackhawk lead a mintue later with a 1-yard scoring run. Cooling ran for two points to make it 14-0.
With just 2:16 left in the first, Jack Bergeman scampered in from 12 yards out for a TD, and Whitney 2-point run made it 22-0 after one quarter.
"Adam (Cooling) went down in the first quarter with an injury, so we put in Kyle Schultz to run the offense for us. We were running a basic set, and from there it became a defensive struggle," said Madelia coach Terry Arduser.
The Jaguars got on the board with 2:30 left in the first half, scoring on a 14-yard pass from Hayden Johnson to Mitch Treml. A 2-point run by Chris Felman made it 22-8 going into the half.
Madelia's defense took advantage of the Jaguars' air attack, getting five interceptions in the game, including Forstner's for a touchdown.
Bergeman pocketed two interceptions for the Blackhawks.
Cooling was 5 of 10 in passing for 48 yards with a touchdown and ran seven times for 37 yards in the first quarter.
RCW's Johnson was 5 of 18 for 96 yards and five interceptions in the loss.
Madelia (1-0) travels to Nicollet for a 7 p.m. Southern Confederacy League game next Friday.
RCW 0 8 0 0 - 8
M 22 0 0 6 - 28
M - Wes Olson 8 pass from Adam Cooling (run failed), 8:07.
M - Jon Whitney1 run (Cooling run), 7:07.
M - Jack Bergeman 12 run (Whitney run), 2:16.
RCW - Mitch Treml 14 pass from Hayden Johnson (Chris Felman run), 2:30.
M - Bryon Forstner 92 interception return (run failed), 0:46.
Martin County West 27, Windom Area 0 - The Mavericks posted a season-opening 27-0 shutout over the Eagles on Friday night in Windom.
No individual statistics were reported.
Martin County West (1-0) plays host to Medford at 7 p.m. next Friday night in Sherburn.