TENNERTON – Ian Donnen scored twice on two quarterback sneaks and the Buckhannon-Upshur running game piled up 246 yards as the Buccaneers defeated the Ripley Vikings by a 13-6 score Friday night at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium in their home opener.
For the senior quarterback, it was a special win as he missed last week’s opener with Bridgeport due to a shoulder injury and was out with COVID in last year’s opening-season loss to Ripley.
“It meant a lot to be able to compete this week,” stated Donnen. “It was tough to be on the sidelines last week and we didn’t play well, it just ate me up. I just wanted to come back this week and focus on leading the team and getting our energy back up. We were just really hungry to beat them this year after having eight starters out in last year’s game and listening to us be disrespected by some of their announcers, it really means a lot to come out and beat them.”
For Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis, he was pleased with how his team responded after their week one loss to Bridgeport.
“It was a gritty win,” stated Davis. “We don’t have any superstars but we are a team that just wants to get after you on every snap and never quit. Ripley is a team that has beaten us pretty easily in the past few years. We aren’t going to impress many people with extraordinary flash, but we are just gritty. It’s not always pretty but it’s a win.”
Ripley got on the board first after the Bucs fumbled away their second possession.
Starting at the Buckhannon-Upshur 43-yard line, they found the end zone for their only score of the game on a three-yard run by Aydin Domico with 2:24 left in the opening quarter.
The extra-point kick was blocked but Ripley took a 6-0 lead.
The Bucs took the lead midway through the second quarter on a five-play drive that went just 22 yards.
Bryson Johnston set the Bucs up at the Ripley 22-yard line with an 18-yard punt return, and five players later, Donnen called his own number and ran it in from two yards out for the score with 8:01 showing on the second-quarter clock.
Wyatt Mason’s kick was good as B-U took a 7-6 lead.
Near the end of the second quarter, the Bucs marched the ball down to the Ripley four-yard line, but they turned the ball over on a fumble as the score remained 7-6 at the intermission.
The contest remained at 7-6 until the Bucs scored on their first drive of the fourth quarter.
B-U put together a drive that started at their own 11-yard line and 11 players later, Donnen kept it on another quarterback sneak from two yards out for the touchdown.
The extra-point kick was wide left, but the Bucs owned a 13-6 lead with 8:42 remaining in the game.
Ripley moved the ball all the way down to the Buckhannon 14-yard line but turned the ball over on downs after Donnen made a spectacular one-on-one tackle in the open field on Ethan Kay on a fourth and six play. Kay had a lane to the end zone if Donnen doesn’t make the tackle.
“I really haven’t played defense since eighth grade,” noted Donnen. “So being able to step up in a big way on that side of the ball means a lot.”
Taking the ball over with 3:59 remaining, the Bucs picked up one first down and punted the ball away giving it back to Ripley with 22 seconds left.
Ripley advanced the ball to the B-U 43-yard line in three plays, but time ran out on the Vikings as the Bucs celebrated their first win of the season.
Savion Farmer led the impressive B-U ground game with 123 yards on 18 carries while Elijah Bryant gained 81 yards on 14 attempts.
Ripley gained 219 yards of total offense, picking up 178 on the ground and 41 through the air.
Hunter Brown paced the Ripley offense with 113 rushing yards on 20 carries.
The Bucs, now 1-1 on the season, will entertain Philip Barbour next Friday at 7 p.m.
The Colts will enter the game with a 1-1 mark after losing to Clay County Friday by a 36-30 score.
“We are 1-1 now and have a rivalry game here next week with Philip Barbour,” concluded Davis. “Our guys are battle-tested. We talked about becoming callused. This is a tough game. The teams that become callused faster, and can play through the pain, have better success and our guys did that tonight. I am so proud of this group right now.”
Ripley 6 0 0 0 – 6
Buckhannon-Upshur 0 7 0 6 – 13
Ripley – Aydin Domico, 3-yard run (kick failed).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Ian Donnen, 2-yard run (Wyatt Mason kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen, 2-yard run (kick failed).
First downs – Ripley: 14 (12 rushing, 2 passing, 0 penalty); Buckhannon-Upshur: 12 (11 rushing, 1 passing, 0 penalty).
Rushing yards – Ripley: 39-178; Buckhannon-Upshur: 47-246.
Passing yards – Ripley: 41; Buckhannon-Upshur: 4.
Total yards – Ripley: 219; Buckhannon-Upshur: 250.
Passes – Ripley: 4-7-0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 1-5-0.
Penalties – Ripley: 4-31; Buckhannon-Upshur: 0-0.
Punts – Ripley: 2-44.5; Buckhannon-Upshur: 3-37.3.
Fumbles – Ripley: 4; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2.
Fumbles lost – Ripley: 3; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2.
All-return yards – Ripley: 102; Buckhannon-Upshur: 44.
Ripley – Hunter Brown 20-113; Aydin Domico 10-26 (1 touchdown); Virgil Myers 2-18; Ty Stephens 4-17; Ethan Kay 3-4. Totals 39-178 (1 touchdown).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Savion Farmer 18-123; Elijah Bryant 14-81; Bryson Johnston 11-35; Ian Donnen 4-7 (2 touchdowns). Totals 47-246 (2 touchdowns).
Ripley – Stephens 3-for-6 for 31 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions; Pritt: 1-for-1 for 10 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Totals 4-for-7 for 41 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen 1-for-5 for 4 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Ripley – Myers 2-23; Brown 1-18; Kay 1-10. Totals 4-41.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Farmer 1-4. Totals 1-4.