TENNERTON – Coming off a disappointing 47-17 loss to Grafton last Friday night, head coach Zach Davis and his Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers will look to right the ship Friday night as they host the Preston Knights.
The Big 10 Conference game, which will be “Senior Night” for the Bucs, will kickoff at 7 p.m. at Freal “Red’ Crites Memorial Stadium.
Last week, the Bucs (2-6) trailed Class AA No. 13 Grafton by just a 14-10 score at the break, but the wheels fell of in the second half as they were outscored by a 34-7 margin in the third and fourth quarters.
“We watched the film of that Grafton game and it was one guy here and one guy there,” Davis said. “A missed block, a mental error, a missed tackle. It wasn’t everybody, but we made too many mistakes and Grafton is a good team and they capitalized on those mistakes. There are things that we still have to do as coaches to get this team better. The team took the corrections well from our film session, so we just have to move on to the next one.”
The next one for the Bucs are the Knights, the only winless team left in Class AAA as they enter the game at 0-6.
Preston High School has dealt with COVID-19 issues this year, as their whole athletic department shut down for two weeks earlier in the season.
The Knights have had issues on both sides of the ball — they average just over six points a game on offense while the defense gives up 40.3 points per game.
The Knights were competitive two weeks ago in a near-miss upset over Washington in a game they lost at home by a 14-13 score.
“Preston has a new coach in Mark Deep,” noted Davis. “He is trying to turn Preston into a good program. They have faced a very tough schedule which hasn’t helped them, but they have overcome a lot of adversity this season and I am sure they will be ready to play us.”
Preston is led by senior quarterback Trevor Thomas and junior tailback Ethan Harper.
“Thomas is a good player and he has a physical line in front of him,” remarked Davis. “They are getting better each week.”
Davis said the Bucs had another good week of practice preparing for the Knights.
“You wouldn’t know that we lost a game last Friday if you were in practice,” Davis said. “The team has remained upbeat. They are still trying to get better and are ready to go. They enjoy being out there with each other and are working hard to get better.”
The contest will be the final home game for the Bucs this season — the last time that 11 seniors will step on the turf of Freal “Red” Crites Stadium.
While Davis has only been with the seniors one year, he knows it will be an emotional night.
“Senior night is a big deal,” Davis said. “This is their last shot to play a home game in front of their friends and family. I will reference the quote that the days go by slow but the years go by fast. You wonder where that time goes for the seniors. I give the senior class a lot of credit for buying into a new system this year and laying the groundwork for future B-U teams.”
Davis said his Bucs need to get back to running the ball and create some turnovers if they want to be successful against the Knights.
“We have to be able to run the football,” concluded Davis. “Other than one big running play that we scored on last week, Grafton shut down our running game. We need to be able to hit on some of our play-action passes. Defensively, we need to stop the run and create some turnovers.”
Following their game Friday night with Preston, the Bucs will close out their season next week on the road against winless Elkins.