Angel Ruiz (9) becomes emotional after the Bucks playoff loss Thursday night. Ruiz had three touchdowns on the night, including two in the fourth quarter. BA photo by James Norman
Coach Casey Hubble addresses the team after the loss. He said in his speech how proud he was of the team for their comeback and what they accomplished on the year. BA photo by James Norman
The Bucks defense stops a run play. The Bucks defense held stout against the run all night, but gave up a few big pass plays. BA photo by James Norman

Bucks fall to Brock in playoff thriller 34-27

The Breckenridge Buckaroos season came to a halt Thursday night with a 34-27 playoff loss to the Brock Eagles.

The Bucks will finish their season with a 4-7 record, placing fourth in their district and securing a playoff spot.

Despite the loss and broken hearts to accompany it, the game was a thrilling one to witness. It included a 21-point comeback by the Bucks in the second half, as well as several big plays from both sides and mistakes to match.

The follies started on the first play of the game, as the Eagles fumbled the snap. The ball was picked up by the Bucks, who ended the drive with a missed field goal. Brock then was able to march down the field, converting on a few key third downs to make the score 6-0.

It wasn’t long before they scored again and made it 13-0. But on the Bucks following drive, running back Angel Ruiz busted a big touchdown run to pull the Bucks within a possession. This was the only score of the second quarter, until with three seconds left, the Eagles were able to score a nearly 70-yard touchdown to close out the first half, with the score 20-6.

The Bucks received the ball at the beginning of the second half, but went three and out. Both teams went back and forth until the end of the third, when the Eagles got into the end zone again with 19 seconds left, increasing their margin to 27-6. 

Though, this wasn’t the end of the third. Kooper Shook (4) returned the subsequent kickoff 93 yards and brought the margin back within two touchdowns with 10 seconds left in the third.

The Bucks then went on a tear, stopping the Eagles and capping off another drive with a long touchdown run by Ruiz again, bringing the score the 27-20 with 9:07 to play. The Bucks then forced a turnover and gave the ball to Ruiz again, who was able to break another long touchdown, tying the game 27-27 with 6:35 left.

It was the following drive the Eagles were able to put together a score. But it was not without its big play, which proved to again kill the Bucks. On a third and 18, the Eagles offense ran a deep pass concept and were able to complete it, putting them down at the 2-yard-line. A couple plays later, they were able to get in, bringing the score to its final total of 34-27.

With time to put a drive together, as well as three timeouts, the Bucks took the field. But they could not keep the chains moving, turning the ball over on downs near midfield when a controversial call on the sidelines ruled a pass incomplete, which would have given the Bucks a first down and the clock stopped.

Controversial calls were something that bogged down the Bucks in several games this year and this game was no different. An intentional grounding call early in the game killed a drive for the Bucks, when Kevin Franco, trying to escape the rush, threw the ball to the middle of the field, but still got the call despite up to three receivers being in the area.

The most controversial of all came on a punt by the Bucks, which hit off the leg of a Brock player, creating a live ball. However, the referees ruled to keep the ball with the Eagles, after a Bucks player had picked the ball up. Rather than ruling Bucks ball, they treated it as a dead ball after touch, despite the fact that the Bucks player should have been able to run with it.

Injuries were a fairly significant part of the game as well, as two players for the Bucks were hurt in the game, both with leg injuries.

The mood after the game was somber with players crying and fans looking depleted as their team’s season comes to an end. Coach Casey Hubble gathered the players together after the game and expressed how proud he was of the team for fighting no matter the situation, commending them for keeping their heads in the game despite being down three possessions. He reiterated sometimes life is like this.

“Sometimes you put the work in and you don’t get it,” he said to his players. “That’s how life works sometimes.”

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