Bucks rumble past Berrien for third straight win
By By MICHAEL BASHARA / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN -- The Buchanan Football team won its third straight Lakeland Conference game Friday night as the Bucks defeated Berrien Springs 35-29.
This was a game of contrasts and big plays.
There have been a lot of quotes about throwing the football, and how it is important to be able to run the football.
Buchanan ground the ball out on the ground and threw for a better percentage than Berrien Springs, but the Shamrocks completed more passes than Buchanan threw and they gained 206 yards throwing the ball. Buchanan scored in the air, and Berrien Springs did not.
Buchanan had two backs with more than 100 yards, and Berrien barely rushed for 100 yards as a team.
Buchanan was never behind in this game. This was a game won at the line of scrimmage.
Buchanan's offensive line of Jacob Brown, Jimmy Connors, Jon Dickey, Brenton Barcyzkowski, Justin Helt, Ryan Carrigan and Karl Schmidt opened holes all night.
Buchanan scored first on its second possession. With 1:49 left in the first period, Kyle Cornwell went eight yards off tackle for the first score. Josh Wahlstrom added the extra point. Cornwell had 67-of-75 yards in this drive. Cornwell finished the evening with 140 yards rushing, and he also caught two passes for 32 yards.
Berrien answered with 9:07 to go in the half when Ryan Williamson carried the final two yards for the touchdown. This ended a 12-play drive that covered 65 yards. Robert Schadt kicked the extra point to tie the score at seven apiece.
DuJuan Bennett, who ended the night with 109 yards on 19 carries, scored next with a five-yard run up the middle. Wahlstrom added the extra point.
Gordon Bryant picked off his first interception late in the second period. Buchanan was able to keep the ball in its own hands for the rest of the half.
The third period started with Berrien having the football. The Shamrocks were unable to move the ball. Facing a fourth-and-14, the Shamrocks were forced to punt.
Buchanan put together a short drive with a pass from Gordon Bryant to Karl Schmidt, good for 19-yards and the touchdown. Wahlstrom added the extra point to make the score 21-7.
Then with 5:45 to go in the third period, Berrien scored when Williamson ran four yards outside. Schadt kicked the extra point to make the score 21-14.
Buchanan scored at 2:45 in third period when Cornwell went three yards off tackle. Wahlstom's kick made it 28-14.
Berrien then scored with 8:53 to go in the final period on a one-yard run by Nolan Martin. The kick made it 28-21.
The Shamrocks recovered their onside kick, and it looked like they might tie the score very quickly.
Then Karl Schmidt leaped up and deflected a pass that was intercepted by Jacob Brown, giving Buchanan possession of the ball on the 44-yard line.
The Bucks ran 10 plays, and ran off more five minutes before they scored on a one-yard dive by Cornwell. Wahlstrom's kick made it 35-21 with just 3:22 left to play.
Next Bryant intercepted his second pass of the night on the eight-yard line. After running three plays and losing four yards, Bennett stepped to the back of the end zone to punt. He took off running the football, and he ran out the back of the end zone for a safety. This made the score 35-23 with less than a minute to play.
After the free kick following safety, Berrien Springs had the ball on the 42-yard line. The Shamrocks completed a couple of passes and as time ran out Martin went seven yards for a touchdown. Since the game had already been decided, the officials decided not to allow the extra-point attempt.
When asked about how the team has changed this season coach Austin said, "I'm really proud of the way this team has stayed together. Cornwell always runs hard as does Bennett. Bryant is maturing at the quarterback spot. He gives us lots of options."
The Bucks have now won three in a row, and they travel to Cassopolis next week.