Bucks upset RangersPublished 2:59pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009
By TOM NYHUIS
CASSOPOLIS – The Bucks played the spoiler of the Rangers’ homecoming football game Friday night in high school football action.
Buchanan held on to a 21-14 Lakeland Conference victory over previously unbeaten Cassopolis. The win gave the Bucks a reason to give coach Joe Austin his second shower of the night. A steady rain fell for much of the second half. After the game his team emptied the water bucket over Austin.
“I told them if they had the energy after this one you can drench me,” Austin said. “We knew they were a great team and we haven’t come close in stopping them in three years. DaShaun Curtis is one of the best players we have played against. He is just an outstanding kid.”
Buchanan didn’t take long to fire up the visiting fans taking the second play from scrimmage in for the first of two touchdown tosses by quarterback Bryan Kuntz. Kuntz hit Tyler Ganus for a 71-yard scoring play less then one-minute into the game. Ryan Catalano’s first of three point after kicks gave the Bucks a quick 7-0 lead.
“That was huge, that was huge, that was huge. We knew they had 10 in the box and they always played that way against us and we thought that was the only way we could loosen them up,” Austin stated of the first scoring drive.
Each team’s defense took over from there as Buchanan stopped the Rangers in their first two tries. The first ending in a punt and the Bucks holding the Rangers on a fourth and 10 at there own 45.
“I told them that our season wasn’t in the tank yet and we can selvage a lot of pride coming over here and playing tough. And our kids did,” he said.
That was enough momentum for the Bucks taking the third play of the drive into the end zone with Kuntz hitting Cash Krumrie after a tipped pass and a jump ball at the 6-yard line. Krumrie powered his way across the goal line after the catch to stun the home team early going up 14-0 with :28 to play in the first quarter.
“Right from the start I knew something wasn’t right with the kids,” Cassopolis coach Andy Hubbard said of the teams’ first half play. “And I don’t know what it was. This was the best week of practice that I have ever been associated with at any level of any team that we have had. Monday through Thursday I thought our kids were ready to play. We came out and we were not ready to play. I saw glimpses of what kind of team we are at different points of the game especially in the fourth quarter and in the second half we played well defensively not giving up a score. We gave up three big plays defensively a pass, a tip pass, and a run and besides that I thought we played pretty well defensively.”
Cassopolis responded to the score moving the ball 69 yards in eight plays capped off with Curtis’ biggest run of the night. Curtis took the ball in from the 13 and Blaise Suseland put the Rangers down by seven with 8:30 to go in the first half.
Once again after each team punted the ball the Bucks came up with another quick strike as the final two minutes were running off the clock of the first half. Cordel Johnson broke free for a 47-yard haul with 1:17 left in the opening half. The hometown fans were in shock to see their team held to a single touchdown in the opening two quarters.
The third quarter was played under a steady rain and with the Rangers driving to the goal line Cassopolis quarterback Steven Eleazer threw the first of two interceptions. Kuntz picked off Eleazer pass at the 3-yard line and returned it to the 20 to stall the Rangers drive. Each team’s defense picked up its intensity making the big stops when needed through the rest of the third quarter and for nearly the first 10 minutes of the fourth.
With 2:06 to play the Rangers had a comeback win on their mind. Evan Brown took a second and goal from the six to hit pay dirt and keep the Ranger faithful’s hopes alive.
The Bucks took the ball over at the 48 after an on-side kick attempt. A Kuntz to Ganus pass for a 23-yard gain looked to seal the victory for the Bucks putting Buchanan deep into Ranger territory. A fourth and 13 pass play by the Bucks was picked off by Eleazer and returned the ball to the 20 with 42.8 seconds to play and no timeouts for Cassopolis. There would be no miracle finish as an interception by the Bucks’ Marquis Tyler at the Bucks 25 sealed the win.
Johnson led the Bucks rushing for 117 yards on the ground while Kuntz was getting things done through the air hitting 6-of-9 for 124 yards and two touchdowns with Ganus pulling in two passes for 94 yards. Buchanan finished with a total of 303 yards of offense. Brandon Jackson, getting his first start in the backfield of the season, picked up 63 yards filling in for the injured Adam Byrdak.
Curtis was held to just 108 yards rushing on 20 carries with Eleazer throwing for 79 yards on 2-of-6 passing. The Rangers finished the night with 252 yards of total offensive.
Buchanan 14 7 0 0 - 21
Cassopolis 0 7 0 7 – 14
B – Bryan Kuntz 71 pass Tyler Ganus (Ryan Catalano kick)
B – Kuntz 21 pass Cash Krumrie (Catalano kick)
C – Dashaun Curtis 13 run (Blaise Suseland kick)
B – Cordel Johnson 47 run (Catalano kick)
C – Evan Brown 6 run (Suseland kick)