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B-U football schedule in 2024; Ripley drops B-U as Bucs pick up Fairmont Senior

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur football schedule will be substantially harder in 2024 with the addition of Class AA champion Fairmont Senior Bears coming on board.

The Polar Bears will replace Ripley, who dropped the Bucs from their schedule in favor of playing Ravenswood.

Ripley has struggled over the last two years winning just four games as the Bucs beat them 13-6 in 2022 and 42-3 in 2023. Ripley will remain in Class AAA during the recent classification and the addition of a Class AAAA division in football for the 2024 season.

“Ripley didn’t want to play us anymore,” said Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis. “I don’t blame them. They are remaining in Class AAA and they are replacing us with Ravenswood on their schedule, which is a big-money game for them.”

Replacing Ripley on the B-U schedule will be Fairmont Senior who posted an 11-2 record in 2023 winning the Class AA title over North Marion in a thriller, 49-48. Fairmont Senior has won four Class AA football titles since 2018.

Davis said adding Fairmont Senior simply came down to both teams needing a game.

“I am friends with Fairmont Senior coach (Nick) Bartic,” remarked Davis. “They needed a game; we needed a game that fit. I must have reached out to probably 20 coaches and Fairmont Senior was the only team that had the flexibility to add us. A lot of people don’t know this, but when they switched classifications this year, so many schools were locked into the second year of two-year contracts that it made it tough to find someone. A lot of teams already had full schedules. So, Ripley drops us, and it comes down to who we can find? It isn’t just us struggling to find teams to schedule, it is everyone.”

Davis said knows adding Fairmont Senior to the schedule will make it more difficult, but his teams won’t back down from a challenge.

“We wanted to find a replacement for Ripley and have a 10-game schedule and not play just nine games,” said Davis. “Fairmont Senior is a conference team, so it makes sense from that standpoint, and we aren’t going to duck anyone. I think it is ridiculous that teams do that. We will never do that as long as I am here.”

The addition of Fairmont Senior will be the only new team on the 2024 B-U schedule, but the order of games will see slight change.

This past year, the Bucs played Morgantown and University in back-to-back weeks in weeks five and six.

The Bucs will play University in the third week with Morgantown slated for week five with a homecoming match against Elkins sandwiched in between them in week four.

“We didn’t want to play Morgantown and University in consecutive weeks,” noted Davis.

B-U will once again not have the benefit of a bye week in the middle of the season, with it coming in week 11 again like it appeared last season.

“We tried to move the bye week off of week 11,” remarked Davis. “We weren’t able top this year but we are hopeful we can make some changes to that overall next year.”

Seven of the Bucs’ 10 games will be against Big 10 Conference foes in Bridgeport, Philip Barbour, Elkins, Fairmont Senior, Lewis County, Grafton, and Preston. Their three non-conference opponents will be University, Morgantown, and Oak Hill.

The schedule will feature six teams that made the playoffs last season.

“It’s a good schedule,” said Davis. “It is challenging but we are a Class AAAA team now and that doesn’t seem likely to change. We have to put together a schedule that is best for us going forward. The travel is much easier than when I got here, but finding Class AAAA teams to play in the future will be difficult.”

In the new reclassification by the WVSSAC, Buckhannon-Upshur will be in the largest classification as coach Davis noted – Class AAAA.

The WVSSAC had a rule in place that you had to play six teams in your classification or higher to qualify for the playoffs, but that rule will be suspended for at least this year.

“There is a proposal from the WVSSAC board of directors to have that rule dropped, so who knows where it will wind up,” stated Davis.

The Bucs will open their 2024 on the road at Bridgeport on Aug. 30.

2024 Buckhannon-Upshur football schedule

Aug. 30 – at Bridgeport

Sept. 6 – Philip Barbour

Sept. 13 – at University

Sept. 20 – Elkins (Homecoming)

Sept. 27 – at Morgantown

Oct. 4 – Fairmont Senior

Oct. 11 – at Lewis County

Oct. 18 – Oak Hill

Oct. 25 – Grafton

Nov. 1 – at Preston

Nov. 8 – Bye

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