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Buchanan drills Bakersfield in quarterfinals matchup

The Bears race to a 29-0 halftime lead as Kendall Milton scores two TDs with 126 rushing yards on only nine carries in 43-7 win.

No. 2 Buchanan is playing their best football at the right time after they hammered No. 7 Bakersfield in the quarterfinals of the Division I playoffs.

The Bears totaled 504 yards of offense and used a slew of offensive weapons in a 43-7 rout of the Drillers at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

One of those weapons, Kendall Milton, had a big night and aided to a running clock in the fourth quarter. Milton carried the ball nine times for 126 yards and only played one snap in the second half.

“Being able to come out of the bye week with most of the team healthy and players hungry for that next game up drove us,” Milton said. “We came out and left it on the field.”

Milton, whose rushing total is now at 996 yards on 99 carries for the season, opened the scoring on Buchanan’s second drive of the game when he went 27 yards up the middle. Then, in the second quarter, the University of Georgia commit once again got through the first line of defense, stiff-armed the safety and scampered for a 62-yard touchdown.

It took sophomore quarterback Ian Kirby about a quarter to get his feet underneath him in his first playoff start, but once he got going, he stayed on.

“Honestly, I came in kind of nervous with it being the first playoff game, but as the first quarter finished I started feeling a lot better,” Kirby admitted. “I started feeling good and got real comfortable.”

Yeah, Kirby got comfortable. He ended the night with three touchdown passes and finished 16-23 for 257 yards. Junior wide receiver Stephen Shelley was the main beneficiary in the passing game as he caught two touchdowns and totaled 96 yards.

Juniors Cade Uehling and Darrien Gaines also helped in the passing game as Uehling caught a TD and Gaines added 68 yards receiving.

With the fireworks the Buchanan offense put up, the defense held its end of the bargain, too. The Bears constantly pressured quarterback Wesley Wilson and ran to the ball as a unit when the Drillers insisted on trying to get to the edge all night.

Bakersfield only had 54 total yards in the first half and scored late in the fourth quarter against many members of the second team Buchanan defense.

Buchanan, now 9-2, will play host to a familiar foe, the Liberty Patriots. These teams squared off earlier this season when the Bears won 19-17 and also met in last year’s semifinals–a game the Patriots won. In fact, this will be the fifth time since 2017 these two programs have matched up.

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