The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 23, 2012

BEA's 'Maroon Platoon' is team's 12th man

BLUE EARTH — Some schools refer to the crowd as a “12th man,” while others simply call them loyal fans.

At Blue Earth Area, the fans have earned the nickname “Maroon Platoon.”

The Bucs will play for the first state championship in football today when they take on Rochester Lourdes for the Class AAA title at the Metrodome. And there's no doubt the communities that make up the BEA school district will be there en masse, as well.

“Our fan support has been awesome this year,” BEA coach Randy Kuechenmeister said. “It’s been fantastic for our kids.

“Even during the year, we had a loyal fans who traveled to the away games to watch us play. When they’re out there making noise and cheering our players on, it makes a big difference.”

Kuechenmeister said the support has not been confined to just the city of Blue Earth. “It’s been Delavan and Winnebago and Frost and Elmore, too. They’re all behind us.”

The enthusiasm for the football team can be seen in the signs in the windows of local businesses and on the slogans written on car windows. It was also evident in the approximately 2,500 fans Ñ many of whom are alumni living in the Twin Cities area Ñ who showed up at the Dome last week to watch the Bucs win their semifinal game.

Rob Norman, the athletic director at BEA for 17 years, says the support just seemed to grow with every game.

“People would come in to buy presale tickets for the games at the Metrodome, and you could just see their excitement,” he said. “They all had questions; they all want to talk about the team.”

Six fan buses will be making the trek to the Dome this morning, and most of the travelers will be clad in maroon. In the week leading up to the semifinal game, a local business had a one-day sale on commemorative T-shirts and sold more than a 1,000.

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