Nov 22, 2021 3:42 PM

East Buchanan to host Thayer in state semis after quarterfinal win over Hamilton

Posted Nov 22, 2021 3:42 PM
The Bulldogs take the field in Saturday's Class 1 state quarterfinal. Photo courtesy of the Clinton County Leader.
The Bulldogs take the field in Saturday's Class 1 state quarterfinal. Photo courtesy of the Clinton County Leader.

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

GOWER - The East Buchanan football team (12-1) is headed to the state semifinals after a 22-12 win over KCI rival Hamilton this past Saturday in Gower in the Class 1 state quarterfinals.

Senior quarterback Conner Musser completed 7-of-10 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore running back Trevor Klein rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

Klein also caught two passes for 47 yards, while sophomore Aidan Hensley had a 17-yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter.

After Hamilton scored touchdowns on each of their first two possessions, the Bulldogs kept the Hornets (9-4) off the board for the rest of the game and pitched a shutout in the second half.

"All of those guys are just studs," East Buchanan head coach Dan Ritter said of Hamilton's offense. "For us to be able to stop in the second half after they were rolling in the first half, it makes us feel good about ourselves for sure."

Leading 14-12 entering the fourth, the Bulldogs added to their lead when sophomore Nick Klein and junior Ethan Bailey tackled Hamilton's senior quarterback Tucker Ross in the end zone for a safety, making it a 16-12 game with 9:04 remaining.

After a short punt set East Buchanan up in plus territory, the Bulldogs put the final nail in the coffin, as Klein ran for his second touchdown, a six-yard strike, to put his team ahead 22-12 with 1:38 to go.

The game was played in front of over 1,000 fans at East Buchanan High School's newly renovated field.

"I just can't stress enough that (Hamilton) is really good," Ritter said. "So, for us to beat them, especially a team that has four state championships in the last 12 years. They know how to win. So, for us to win that game was really big for our football program."

East Buchanan will now host Thayer (10-3) in the state semifinals this Saturday.

Thayer took down defending state champion Windsor this past weekend, 30-22. Kickoff in this Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3).

A win would put East Buchanan into the state title game for just the second time in program history and the first time since 2004, when the Bulldogs finished as state runners-up.

"We only have four semifinal appearances here at East Buchanan," Ritter pointed out, "and only one state championship appearance. So, the further we go, the more history being made, and I'm just so proud of these young men. It's all them."

East Buchanan comes together after their 22-12 win over Hamilton is state quarterfinals Saturday. Photo by Tommy Rezac.
East Buchanan comes together after their 22-12 win over Hamilton is state quarterfinals Saturday. Photo by Tommy Rezac.
East Buchanan warming up before the game. Photo by Tommy Rezac.
East Buchanan warming up before the game. Photo by Tommy Rezac.

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.