East Buchanan edges Wellington-Napoleon
By Ross Martin The St. Joseph News-Press
WELLINGTON, Mo. — The chain between the first-down markers seemed to keep stretching, leaving Cory Bower in a state of anticipation.
When the head official signaled first down, the East Buchanan quarterback let loose with a leaping celebration. The Bulldogs gained three first downs in a clock-killing final possession, helping them hold on for a 36-29 win over top-ranked Wellington-Napoleon in their Class 1 quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Bodenhamer Field.
The victory clinches East Buchanan’s first trip to the semifinals since the 2004 season.
“If we got it, it’s over,” said Bower, who threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns. “That’s the most relieved I’ve been a while once the chains were stretched, and it was a across.”
East Buchanan (12-1) forced No. 1 Wellington-Napoleon into five second-half turnovers, returning a pair of them for touchdowns.
The takeaways helped offset a stagnating Bulldogs’ offense, which jumped to a 22-7 lead in the first half behind passing touchdown passes of 33 (Kevin Robbins), 74 (Brandon McNeely) and 46 (Cazes Johnson from running back Eddie Kilgore on a trick play).
East Buchanan finished with only 42 yards rushing with Bower limited to minus-27 yards on 20 carries including sacks. Wellington Napoleon’s blitzing 3-3-5 scheme created problems and limited Bower to 17-of-33 passing accuracy, as he took repeated hits from free rushers.
“We knew we were not going to be able to rush for anything, and we were going to have to throw and play defense and get defensive touchdowns,” East Buchanan coach Kevin Bryan joked. “And (coach Bob) Brandt, our defensive coordinator, drew it up all week how we were going to get those defensive touchdowns.
“You do what you have to do.”
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