Bucs fall 20--17 in Round 2
Story by Zach Womble
Photo by Bret Berwager
HENDERSONVILLE – When you are play on brown grass you know you’ve had a good season.
The Class 5A playoffs have been a staple for coach Anthony Crabtree and his Beech Buccaneer football teams.
Whether winning a state championship, playing for one, or making a deep run, fans and players of the Beech Buccaneers have come accustomed to playing in November.
Facing off against Shelbyville Central (11-1) in the second round of the playoffs, the Buccaneers (11-1) saw their season come to a close with a 20-17 loss.
Despite forcing three Golden Eagle turnovers, the Bucs couldn’t capitalize, scoring zero points on the three fumbles from their counterparts.
“That is probably the difference in the game,” Beech head coach Anthony Crabtree said. “That said even with their three turnovers I thought we still made more mistakes than they did. They are a good football team. They are big, physical, and do good things on both sides of the ball. Credit to them for winning the game.”
One mistake that will haunt the players and coaches well into the off-season will be the missed opportunity inside the Golden Eagles 2-yard line.
Facing 1st-and-goal, the Bucs went backward thanks to an illegal procedure and three negative running plays.
The drive ended with a Corey Edwards field goal to put the Bucs up 10-7 midway through the second quarter. Despite the points, many in Shackle Island felt the team left points on the field and that is something you cannot do if you want to win in November.
“At this time of the year you cannot do that and expect to win,” Crabtree added.”
The Golden Eagles took a 13-10 lead into the locker room following a 74-yard drive with only two minutes to play until recess.
Setting up shop at the Bucs 35-yard line for 3rd-and-7, Shelbyville quarterback Kade Cunningham found Mason Wright for the touchdown and the 13-10 lead. The Golden Eagles failed to convert the extra point.
Wright finished the game with eight receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
After forcing a punt to start the second half, Beech marched 65 yards on 12 plays before Tysean Jefferson found the end zone from three yards out at the 3:32 mark.
Corey Edwards converted his second extra point of the game for the 17-13 advantage.
The next two possessions for each team saw one Beech punt and the third Shelbyville turnover with 5:43 left in the game. The turnover looked like it would seal the Golden Eagles fate, but the defense stiffened and got the ball back following a Bucs punt with 1:46 left in the game.
The Golden Eagles mixed both the run and the pass on the final drive before Wright found the end zone with only 19 seconds remaining on an end-around run to the right pylon from the seven-yard line.
The game-winning touchdown pushed the Golden Eagles out in front for good, 20-17.
Shelbyville running back Caleb Marsh led his team on the ground with 139 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown.
“He is a big kid that is hard to bring down,” Crabtree said of Marsh. “You cannot let him get started and going downhill. If he gets going it’s hard to tackle him.”
The Bucs seniors end their careers 42-7 and three-time Region 6-5A champions.
“I am extremely proud of them,” Crabtree added. “They are the most successful football class to ever come through here. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to but at the end of the day, they had a great career. I am proud of each and every one of them for what they have given to this program.”
The Bucs end their season 11-1 and Region 6-5A champions.
“This team is a very gritty bunch,” Crabtree said. “This group gave us everything they had. They found a way to win some games this year they probably should have won.”