Dash Davis broke free on a 64-yard touchdown run in the second half against Preston. He finished the night with 144 yards on nine carries. (File photo)

Bucs use strong second half to beat Preston 21-3

BUCKHANNON – The Bucs are back.

The Buckhannon-Upshur High School football team won their second straight game on the road at Preston County on Friday, using a big second half to tame the Knights 21-3.

Preston’s offense continued to struggle but did get on the board after being held scoreless the past three games – a 72-0 blowout against Hedgesville, a 64-0 loss at Fairmont Senior and a 50-0 game at University. The Knights fell to 1-8, with their only win coming against Hampshire in the season opener.

The Bucs, meanwhile, improved to 4-5 on the year going into their regular season finale next week at home against Elkins. The Tigers are also 4-5 after beating Grafton on Friday.

On a chilly, rainy night in Preston County, the first half was, for lack of a better word, ugly.

Things started out well enough for B-U, which recovered an onsides kick to open the game. But neither team was effective on offense and the first six drives of the games resulted in exactly zero points.

Preston finally ended the 0-0 deadlock with 10:22 left in the half, when they kicked a 25-yard field goal after a 3-play, -2 yard drive.

The Bucs turned it over on their next possession, but the B-U defense kept the Knights out of the endzone with a valiant fourth-down stand inside the 5-yard line.

Buckhannon-Upshur got the ball back one last time in the first half, but again sputtered and headed into the locker room down 3-0.

The stats at that point were as depressing as the weather. The Bucs ran just 14 offensive plays and gained 39 yards, all on the ground. Preston didn’t fair much better, accounting for just 41 total yards.

Combined, the teams outputted just 80 yards of offense during the first half.

The second half was a different story, right from the outset. The Bucs received the opening kickoff, and then Jacob Loudin broke free on a 51-yard touchdown run to give B-U a 7-0 lead after a Cameron Zuliani extra point.

That one run accounted for more yardage than either team had in the entire first half.

The Bucs again tried an onsides kick, but Preston recovered in B-U territory. The Knights couldn’t convert though, punting to the B-U 11-yard line.

The third quarter ended with the score 7-3 in favor of the Bucs.

Buckhannon-Upshur extended their lead in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard run by Casey Hamner that put the game at 14-3.

Preston threatened as the clock ticked near five minutes to go, but the Buccaneer defense again proved their worth, holding on fourth down at the 5-yard line.

With an eye on the clock, the Bucs kept the ball on the ground, and Dash Davis took advantage, busting out a 64-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach at 21-3 with less than three minutes left on the clock.

That score would hold through the final whistle.

B-U held the Knights to 112 total yards. The Bucs, meanwhile rumbled to 331 yards, including 313 on the ground. Davis led the way with 144 yards on nine carries.

 

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