Pushing for playoffs“It’s a year to be a Buccaneer.”
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
“It’s a year to be a Buccaneer.”
Those are the words Beach head coach Mike Zier used when describing this football season.
He has reason to be comfortable, because the Buccaneers are knocking on the door of a playoff berth. They host Center-Stanton at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Comfortable? I’m ecstatic,” Zier said with laugh. “I’m tickled pink. This has been a year where I thought if everything clicked, we could be where we are at. I’m very pleased.”
With a win, Beach can secure a playoff spot behind No. 3-ranked Divide County and No. 5-ranked Shiloh Christian in 9-man, Region 4. Divide County and Shiloh secured playoff berths.
The two areas Zier is most pleased with are team chemistry and the defense assistant coach Dale Peplinski has put together.
“The thing that has really done well is the team chemistry,” Zier said. “The kids have gotten behind this underdog role and they’ve taken the challenge. We knew it would take some time for these guys to gel. They’ve obviously been on a team together, but haven’t played as a group on the field together a lot.”
Junior Marshall Nunberg has manned the quarterback responsibilities all season and recently, new plays have been added to the arsenal.
“He’s done a really good job,” Zier said. “The biggest surprise on Marshall is his ability to scramble and get yards. We’ve even put in some designed rushing plays for him.”
The Buccaneers continue to use multiple running backs as all three bring different abilities to the able. Junior Tyler Steffan is a bruising back that runs over opponents and junior Anthony Weinreis uses shiftiness.
“Tyler Steffan is our main guy,” Zier said. “Anthony Weinreis, who was our starting tight end and does a great job there, will be at tailback for about two or three series. He provides a nice change of pace.”
Senior Danny Skoglund has blazing speed, but due to his 5-foot-6, 120-pound frame he’s got a little banged up and Beach hasn’t been able to use him as often as they’d like.
The Buccaneers’ two loses this season were to Divide County and Central McLean, but Zier said he’s still proud of the effort put forth in those games.
“The kids have bought into things and they play hard,” Zier said. “Even in our two losses, we still played hard.”
Two teams in Region 4 that are on the outside looking in are Mott-Regent and Hettinger-Scranton. The Wildfire have a 3-3 record, while the Night Hawks are 2-4. All Region 4 teams play nine region games in their season.
Their playoffs hopes ride on winning out and seeing what happens. However, Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick just wants to get a win when it hosts Trenton-Trinity Christian at 7 p.m. Friday.
“Our biggest thing is we need to get back on the right track and we got to try to win a football game Friday night,” Burwick said. “We’re not even worried about the playoffs at this point.”
Mott-Regent head coach Ron Benson said they needed a win over Central McLean, Shiloh Christian or Beach. They didn’t win either.
“It would be pretty tough for us to make it,” Benson said. “We had to win one of those games between Shiloh, Central McLean or Beach. Even if we did win out, those teams would hold the tiebreaker over us in the head-to-head matchups.”
The Wildfire, along with the Night Hawks, had high hopes entering the season. Burwick said the consistency just hasn’t quite been there.
“We had a lot of big thoughts coming into the season,” Burwick said. “We’re a good football team and that’s the scary thing about it. We just haven’t played consistent football enough to be in the mix.”