Bucks rout Rangers 45-20
Published 9:14 am Saturday, September 26, 2015
BUCHANAN — The magic number for the Buchanan Bucks is down to one.
Just one more win will put the Bucks into the MHSAA playoffs, an accomplishment that evaded the Bucks last season.
Buchanan (5-0) moved a step closer to the playoffs with a dominating 45-20 win over Cassopolis.
The Rangers have now lost two straight and are 3-2 on the year.
The Bucks got things started on their first possession of the night, driving down the field and finishing off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Darren Shearer to Bryce Vineyard.
Cassopolis was quick to answer back when junior running back Marquise Curtis took a strong-side sweep 69 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The Rangers went for two and got it, putting them up, 8-7.
After both teams went three-and-out in their next drives, Buchanan got the ball back at their own 35. From there, quarterback Jarrett Thomas launched a bomb to senior, Tim McCaffrey, who caught the ball in stride, and outran two Ranger defensive backs for the 65-yard score.
The Bucks got a little tricky, going for a fake kick on the extra point try but were unsuccessful.
Buchanan stopped Cass’s next possession, stuffing the Rangers on a fourth-and-one run up the gut. After a couple nice runs, Thomas, again took to the air, this time hitting junior Dalton Riddle for a 46-yard touchdown.
Cassopolis got the ball back and were looking to score quick when quarterback Shane Los connected on a 60-yard pass that looked like it was going for six. Vineyard had other plans, however. He chased down the Cass receiver and forced him out of bounds at the 3-yard line.
The tackle proved to be a huge play when McCaffrey recovered a Ranger fumble at the goal line.
The Buchanan offense took advantage of the turnover and drove 99-yard, capping off the epic drive with a one-yard touchdown pass from Shearer to senior Josiah Smith.
Cassopolis was able to complete a 25-yard touchdown pass with only 11 seconds left in the half, cutting the Bucks’ lead to 26-14 at the break.
The Bucks kicked off to open up the second half and were able to recover a mishandled ball down at the Rangers 31. That drive was capped by a 3-yard rumble up the middle by junior Justin Ruth.
With things beginning to become out of reach for the Rangers, they kicked their game into gear.
Cassopolis drove down and scored a touchdown and then recovered a surprise onside kick, setting them up with great field position, trailing 32-20.
That is when Riddle put the stake through the heart of the Rangers, taking an interception 96 yards, bobbing and weaving through tacklers and into the end zone.
“The guys out there did a great job blocking for me on that one,” Riddle said of the return. “It really made it a lot easier with those guys out there.”
Junior Jacob Graham added a 5-yard touchdown run late in the fourth and Buchanan clinched their fifth straight win.
The offense was firing on all cylinders, going for 247 yards through the air (127 to Riddle) and 136 on the ground (64 by Thomas).
“We wanted to get our offense out there and keep up the tempo,” Buchanan coach Reid McBeth said after the game. “We take whatever the defense is going to give us. A few times it was so much big pass plays, but big yards after the catch. We might not be the absolute fasted team but our kids can do some great things with the ball.”
The Bucks travel to Parchment in search of their six win and playoff eligibility Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
BUCHANAN 45, CASSOPOLIS 20
Cassopolis 8 6 6 0 – 20
Buchanan 13 12 13 7 – 45
B – Bryce Vineyard 6 pass from Darren Shearer (Kyle Leazenby kick)
C – Marquise Curtis 68 run (Austin Green run)
B – Tim McCaffrey 65 pass from Darren Shearer (run failed)
B – Dalton Riddle 44 pass from Jarrett Thomas (kick failed)
B – Josiah Smith 1 pass from Darren Shearer (Kyle Leazenby kick)
C – Micha Welch 23 pass from Shane Los (pass failed)
B – Justin Ruth 3 run (kick failed)
C – Bryce Saxton 15 run (pass failed)
B – Dalton Riddle 94 interception return (pass failed)
B – Jacob Graham 6 run (Kyle Leazenby kick)
Varsity records: Cassopolis 3-2, Buchanan 5-0