For both the Beach Buccaneers (1-3, 1-7) and the Central McLean Cougars (1-3, 3-5) it was the final night of their seasons. The raining downpour failed to turn the crowd away or stop Central McLean cheerleaders chants and for the seniors on the field, it inspired a more memorable performance to close out their high school careers.
The matchup was held in Beach, but was won by the 9-man region 5 team, 30-12. Buccaneers head coach Mike Zier gave proper recognition to Central McLean’s team and coaches despite them not claiming a playoff spot in their region.
“We’ll find out during the playoffs, but Central McLean’s region is a little bit stronger than ours if you look at the non-conference matchups,” Zier said. “They just missed out on the playoffs, but again, I think their region is a little bit tougher and we’ll see if I'm wrong come playoffs now.
The first touchdown came from the Buccaneers in the first quarter. Quarterback Trin Schumacher pushed through the middle for a three yard run touchdown for a 6-0 lead.
“Breaking the ice is always great, setting the tone and being in the first quarter helps get the guys going,” Schumacher said. “They just outperformed us and that's that … McLean is a solid team, I'm not going to bash them in any way, but the mud sure didn't help that's for sure.”
The lead wouldn't last long as the Cougars’ senior running back Easton Frey would score on a 61-yard run on the first play after receiving the ball back. It was 8-6 with less than nine minutes left in the first half.
“I am really happy with the opening drive to take the lead, but this game was a microcosm of our season,” Zier said. “We gave up big plays on defense and then had penalties and or bad plays on offense. It is just kind of how this year has gone, just the way we have played. There isn't really just one thing you could stick your finger on, it's multiple things, plus playing a good opponent.
The Buccaneers defense made a big play to turn Central McLean over on downs deep in their own territory. On Beach’s next third down, Schumacher, under heavy pressure, made a long pass touchdown to Ray Steiner to take the lead once again 12-8.
With only 1:53 left in the first half, the Buccaneer defense tried to hold back Central McLean’s offense, but Frey would make another big run of 66 yards for a touchdown and a 16-12 lead at halftime.
“Tough hard nose kid, tough to bring down. What can you say? That's your dream nine-man back right there, the ‘Mike Alstott’ and I loved it,” Zier said. “I didn't love it as far as trying to stop him, but good football players that's for sure.”
The Cougars scored again in the third quarter from a short pass touchdown to senior tight end Jarret Troyna to extend their lead 22-12.
Throughout the game, there were a series of flags thrown moving the ball on both sides. In the fourth quarter, McLean almost had a pass touchdown, but was cancelled out from a flag on the play. It didn't stop them from scoring on the very next play with a 38-yard touchdown run from Frey once again to cement the victory.
With less than a minute in the game, the Buccaneers would fumble the ball to seal any chance of changing the scoreboard with the Cougars taking a knee to run out the clock.
“It was not the ideal situation for the last game, but I wouldn't change it any other way,” Schumacher said. “I am proud of the young guys. We threw a few guys into the fire, right out of junior high and they did the best they could, they didn't back down and they played their hearts out for us seniors and I appreciate that.”
Long after the game ended, both teams huddled on their respective ends of the field with their coaches sharing final words of wisdom over the game played, but also the moment shared between teammates and what that will mean for years to come.
“The last game is alway tough. The nice part about tonight, is that the last time they walk off a football field is at home and that is pretty special,” Zier said. “Wins don't matter. No one in the 22 years I have been at Beach, have talked to me about wins or losses. My job is to teach the kids the game of football and how that relates to life and I think these guys get it and that is more important to me than any wins.”
CM 8 8 6 8 30
BB 6 6 0 0 12
BB - Trin Schumacher 3 yard run (two-point conversion failed), 6-0
CM- Easton Frey 61 yard run (two-point conversion successful), 8-6
BB - Ray Steiner 18 yard catch from Schumacher (two-point conversion failed), 12-6
CM - Frey 66 yard run (two-point conversion successful), 16-12
CM - Jarret Troyna 6 yard catch from Cade Kjelstrup (two-point conversion failed), 22-12
CM - Frey 38 yard run (two-point conversion successful), 30-12