By Bob Kopp

BDR Sports Correspondent

ROCKFORD – Riding the crest of two consecutive convincing wins over previously unbeaten powerhouses Harlem and Hononegah to resurrect pre-season prognostications of a serious run in the post-season, the Bucs were stumped then stomped by the host Vikings in a game far more lopsided than the final score 28-6.

Proving games are decided on the field not press clippings, the Vikings dominated every facet of the game.

Led by strong and shifty senior Damonte Reed who ran for 193 yards and two TDs and complemented by bruising senior Mason Marks who added another 101 yards, the Vikings pounded out 350 yards on the ground in a smash-mouth-in-your-face game plan that was predicted, efficiently executed, and never contested.

Stunned as much as anyone by the inevitable outcome not long into the picture-perfect evening for football that ended so drearily for BHS, I turned to others in the press box and said, “I’m a homer but I can’t seem to identify any positives right now.”  An astute spotter sitting next to me mumbled, “That’s because there ain’t none.”

While the Bucs have looked like a contender to bring another state title back to Belvidere in the past few weeks, this game caused some to question if the playoffs are still in reach as a feisty Freeport comes to town on Friday followed by a hungry East eager to be a spoiler in the closer.

The Bucs are only one win away from the playoffs; but just when folks were predicting a high seed for the playoffs with an assumed strong finish, that fifth win seems a tad more elusive.

With a dedicated, competent, and caring coaching staff led by Head Coach Chuck Leonard and as much talent on the roster as any team in its class as well as the NIC-10, it seems the Bucs can beat anybody yet are prone to play down to the level of their opponents.

At the time of the year when the proverbial cream rises to the top and Freeport coming into town with its talented, salty, and always-plays-well-against-the-Bucs history as it makes its own push for post-season positioning, the Bucs will have to dig deeply with renewed resolve to prove themselves again.

Which team will show up against the Pretzels?

Lou Holtz was once asked how he motivates his players.  He answered, “I recruit motivated players.”

As the Vikings sailed away from the Bucs without much resistance last Friday and the Pretzels come to town this Friday only one win away from the playoffs, motivation should not be a challenge for the Bucs.

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