Bucks hold off Eddies for piece of Lakeland Conference titlePublished 1:09am Saturday, October 17, 2009
By TOM NYHUIS
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – It all came down to one play in Friday night’s homecoming football game at Buchanan as the host Bucks held on for a 27-26 Lakeland Conference win that gave them at least a share of the league crown with a conference record of 5-1.
The Bucks stand at 5-3 overall and needs a win next week over Muskegon Heights to make it into the playoffs.
The last Lakeland title for Buchanan’s football program was back in 1988 with then coach Frank Mucha took his team to the top with a 9-0 record.
It was a game of big plays both running and passing, but the outcome was decided with a failed run on an extra point attempt by the Eddies (3-2, 4-4) with :23 second left in the game. The Buchanan defense made the stop after the on-side kick attempt by the Eddies was covered by the Bucks’ T.J. Miller, the celebration began.
“We had all the momentum going and we had them on the ropes,” Edwardsburg coach Kevin Bartz said after the disappointing loss. “We’re on the road, they (Buchanan) have a lot of weapons where they can throw the ball and I felt that we came that far and wanted to see what was going to happen. We had our best in their at the time and felt our best was going to be better then what they had. They stepped it up there that one last play and made the big play.”
“I think it was a heck of a play for him to do,” an ecstatic Joe Austin said following the the Bucks title clinching win. “They have a very explosive offense and we were on pins and needles all game trying to hold them down. I would have gone for two too I believe and they made the right call. We just told everyone to stay lower and keep square.”
Buchanan held a 20-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter after scoring two unanswered touchdowns in the third. Bryan Kuntz hit Richie Reed on a 10-yard slant pass and Reed finished off the play racing past the Eddied secondary for the 43-yard score on the Bucks first drive of the second half.
Buchanan also scored in their second drive of the third quarter taking the ball 60 yards in nine plays with Adam Byrdak punching it in from the one to go up 20-6 with 2:13 left in the third quarter.
Edwardsburg answered back with a drive of their own to wind down the third and in the opening minutes of the fourth Adam Kendall broke free for a 27-yard run into the end zone.
After a Buchanan four and out and a punt to put the Eddies deep at the 17 Edwardsburg took the ball down the field in four plays capped off with a 4-yard tote by Cole Golden to knot the game at 20 with 7:15 to play.
A stop by each of the defense’s forced a punt by each team, which ended in giving the Bucks the ball at mid field. Buchanan moved the ball down to the 21 in three plays and then Kuntz hit Tyler Ganus for a 21-yard strike to take back the lead with just over two minutes to play. Ryan Catalano’s third point after kick gave Buchanan a 27-20 lead.
The Eddies didn’t give up as that took the ball from the their own 33-yard line and nine plays later they trailed the Bucks by a point after Golden punched the ball in from the one.
Edwardsburg coach Kevin Bartz rolled the dice and went for the win going for the 2-point conversion attempt. The Bucks stuffed Golden at the 1-yard line that that proved to be the winning play.
The Eddies out rushed the Bucks 317 to 151 on the ground with Kendall picking up 106 yards on the ground and Golden adding 102. Kyle Ramsey coming in for an injured Frank Majors after the third play of the game threw for 71 yards hitting 4-of-7 with one interception.
Buchanan’s Cordel Johnson racked up 127 yards rushing in the win with one touchdown as Buchanan finished the night with 151 yards on the ground. Kuntz threw for 124 yards hitting 10-of-16 with an interception and two touchdowns with Reed picking up a 43-yard touchdown reception along with Ganus’ 21-yard touchdown catch.
Buchanan scored the game’s first touchdown on a 5-yard run by Johnson in the first quarter and the Eddies scored six on a 7-yard carry in the second quarter as the teams went in at the half tied at six.
“We are just thrilled to get this win. A 1-3 start everyone pretty much wrote us off and our kids battled back and are getting better and better. It’s a heck of a win for us,” Austin said.
Edwardsburg 0 6 0 20 – 26
Buchanan 6 0 14 7 – 27
B – Cordel Johnson 5 run (kick failed)
E – Adam Kendall 7 run (kick failed)
B – Richie Reed 43 pass from Bryan Kuntz (Ryan Catalano kick)
B – Adam Byrdak 1 run (Catalano kick)
E – Kendall 27 run (Jeff Roberson kick)
E – Cole Golden 4 run (Roberson kick)
B – Tyler Ganus 21 pass from Kuntz (Catalano kick)
E – Golden 1 run (run failed)