TENNERTON – One of the longest and most storied rivalries in all of West Virginia will be played again Friday night when the Lewis County Minutemen will visit the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers at Freal “Red” Crites Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Last year’s game of the Route 33 battle was canceled because of COVID-19 protocols in place at the time, putting a brief hiatus of the 120-year old rivalry.
The modern series between Buckhannon-Upshur and Lewis County goes back to 1966 where the Bucs own a 38-16 lead in the rivalry.
The will be the first taste of the rivalry for first-year Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis.
“I am jacked up for this game,” quipped Davis. “It’s good to play rivalry games. We got our first taste of that with Philip Barbour a few weeks ago but Lewis County is always a big game for this program.”
The Bucs will enter the Lewis County game with a 1-4 record (their Bridgeport cancellation officially became a forfeit loss this week) off the heels of a 33-14 setback last week to John Marshall.
The Bucs moved the ball well on the ground in the setback with 230 yards rushing but they managed just two yards passing and turned the ball over four times.
“We ran the ball well last week,” noted Davis. “I thought we left a lot laying out on the table as well. We have to be able to take our skills from practice and in a controlled environment to game time and a more chaotic environment. It was our first home game, the lights were on, maybe we had some nerves, but we will overcome. I thought we had another good week of practice this week.”
Lewis County will also enter the game with a 1-4 record after playing a competitive game last week against Class AA No. 1 Lincoln in a 21-6 setback.
Lincoln needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put away the Minutemen Friday night.
Last week, the Minutemen offense was led by sophomore tailback Drew Cayton who ran for 72 yards on 12 carries.
Lewis County’s lone win was a 22-8 victory over winless Elkins back on Sept. 10.
“Lewis County is very sound in their schemes,” said Davis. “They are committed to it and they want to do a good job with it. I’m not sure they have one single player that stands out because they all play hard and physical. They are going to make you beat them because they aren’t going to beat themselves and that is a big credit to their coaching staff.”
The Bucs hope to continue to find success on the ground as junior tailback Savion Farmer racked up another 100-yard game last week against John Marshall. Farmer has three 100-yard games under his belt this season.
“Savion has really come on this season,” remarked Davis. “He is a special back. We expect to use him as much as we have or even more the rest of the season.”
Davis said stopping the run while finding success running the ball will be two of the keys to the Bucs winning the game Friday night.
“We have to stop the run because Lewis County does a good job of running it,” noted Davis. “And we have to continue to run the ball well. We have to throw the ball better as well. We have to take what they give us in the passing game. We simply need to do a better job of executing our game plan this week.”
Following this Friday night’s game, the Bucs will remain at home to face University next Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.