The Buchanan Bears’ defensive secondary dominated the night and Buchanan quarterback Ian Kirby threw three touchdowns as the Bears cruised to a 43-7 win over Bakersfield. The win sends Buchanan into the next round of the CIF Central Section Division I championship.
Bakersfield quarterback Wesley Wilson was often left with no options downfield and was forced to scramble to open field on multiple occasions throughout the game. When Wilson was able to complete a pass, it was rarely to a down-field target as the senior quarterback frequently resorted to targets coming out of the backfield.
Meanwhile, Buchanan’s Kirby had a completely different experience on the night as he threw for over 200 yards and found targets routinely open in the center of the field. Of his three touchdown passes, two of them went to Stephen Shelly, who became one of Stevenson’s favorite targets as the night progressed.
Kirby connected with Cade Uehling for a 12-yard touchdown reception. It was Kirby’s first touchdown pass on the night, and it followed two rushing scores from Buchanan’s star running back, Kendall Milton.
Milton was used on just one play in the second half, however. The Bears clearly had their eyes on future games, and keeping Milton rested for contests that look set to be more demanding on the team seemed to be a priority.
Milton spent much of the second half with his helmet off and speaking casually with coaches and teammates. Despite his small workload, Milton rushed for 109 yards on six attempts and found the end zone twice.
Dante Lawson and Caden Rodgers picked up the snaps in the backfield in place of Milton and were able to find similar success. Rodgers scored Buchanan’s fifth touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run while Lawson operated as the three-down back for most of the late-drives.
Lawson was used as the clean-up back in the fourth quarter. The senior racked up 40 yards rushing on the game’s final drive and played a key part in moving the chains to run out the clock.
Wilson ended the game 7 for 18 with 47 yards. Despite the strength of the Buchanan secondary, Wilson did not throw an interception, partly due to the fact that he opted to keep the ball himself, rather than attempt a riskier pass down the field.
Wilson ran the ball – either on a designed QB run or in a scramble – on nine occasions with his largest gain being a 19-yard run that setup Bakersfield’s only touchdown of the game; a 2-yard rushing score from Devontay Bell.
There was one turnover in the game that came as a result of a muffed punt. Bakersfield’s punt returner mishandled a punt that was recovered by Buchanan’s Evan Lopez. The Bears regained control of the ball on the Bakersfield 21-yard line and it took just one play for Kirby and Shelly to connect for their second time on the night.
Buchanan now advances to the semi-finals of the CIF Central Section Division I championship. The Bears will host Liberty at home next weekend. On the other side of the bracket, Central will host Bullard.