GRAFTON – For one half, the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers and Class AA No. 14 Grafton Bearcats were locked in a close battle, but things went south in the second half for the Bucs as they dropped a 47-17 contest.
The Bucs trailed Grafton by a 14-10 score at the intermission but couldn’t slow down the Bearcats and who had five scoring plays of more than 20 yards in the second half in the 30-point setback.
“Grafton’s skill players are good and their box players were better than what I thought,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis. “They were able to slow down our running game, which has been our calling card this year, and we didn’t have that tonight. If we can’t run the football and take advantage of the things they give us, it’s going to be a hard deal for us to overcome.”
The Bucs finished the night with 162 yards on the ground, but most of that came on a 52-yard touchdown run by Savion Farmer in the first quarter.
The Bucs were their own worst enemies at times losing three fumbles and being whistled for six penalties which bogged down a couple of drives.
“Our youth showed some tonight as well,” stated Davis. “We false-started twice tonight, and I don’t think we have done that all year. I told the team after that game that some of them weren’t even here tonight and that falls on me as a coach.”
The Bucs caught a bad break to set up Grafton’s first score.
Farmer was fighting for extra yardage on a carry when a Grafton defender put a helmet on the ball and it was caught out of the air by Bearcat Isaiah Vanscoy who went 52 yards in the opposite direction for the touchdown.
Stratten Wooddell’s point-after kick was good as Grafton took a 7-0 lead with 1:09 left in the first quarter.
The Bucs wasted little time in answering Grafton’s score.
Staring at their own 32-yard line they scored in just two plays as Liam Garcia carried for 17 yards and Farmer finished the drive with his 52-yard run over the left side.
Cameron Zuliani was good on her kick, as she tied the game at 7-7 with 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Bearcats went 62 yards on their next drive that was capped off with a four-yard touchdown reception by Daniel Bord from Tanner Moats with 9:07 showing on the second-quarter clock.
Wooddell’s kick gave Grafton a 14-7 lead.
Buckhannon-Upshur didn’t pick up a first down on their next series, but the Bearcats fumbled away the punt return with the Bucs taking over at the Grafton 19-yard line.
The Bucs managed just four yards and had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Zuliani, who split the uprights making it a 14-10 game.
Grafton took their four-point lead into the half with them.
The Bucs had to punt the ball away on their first possession of the second half and Justin Spiker hauled it at the Grafton 37-yard line and returned it for the touchdown.
The extra-point kick was no good but Grafton owned a 20-10 lead.
The Bucs had to punt the ball away on their next drive with Grafton taking over the ball at their own 18-yard line.
They found the end zone in just five plays as Arron Barker scored on a 20-yard run with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
The point-after kick failed again as it remained a two possession game at 26-10.
Grafton scored on their next drive as Spiker went around the right end for a 42-yard run with 1:01 remaining in the quarter. Wooddell’s kick was good as Grafton took a 33-10 lead.
Moats found Issac Lough for a 63-touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter for a 40-10 advantage.
The Bucs put their final score on the board when Ian Donnen found Sterlin Thropp in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown reception. Zuliani was good on the conversion kick making it a 40-17 game.
Grafton had the final score of the contest when Vanscoy ran it in from 27 yards out.
“Grafton has a senior-dominated football team and they are good,” remarked Davis. “We played a good football team tonight.”
Grafton piled up 476 yards off offense getting 308 through the air and 167 on the ground.
The Bucs ran for 162 yards and collected 78 through the air of a total of 235 yards.
Farmer led the B-U rushing attack with 89 yards on 20 carries while Garcia had 36 yards on four carries.
Donnen completed six of his 15 passes for 83 yards.
Thropp led the B-U receivers with 53 yards on three catches.
Grafton improved to 6-2 on the season while the Bucs dropped to 2-6.
Buckhannon-Upshur will return to action next Friday as they host Preston on Senior Night.
“We are going to get things fixed, get better and get ready for Preston next Friday,” concluded Davis.
Buckhannon-Upshur 7 3 0 7 – 17
Grafton 7 7 19 14 – 47
Grafton – Isaiah Vanscoy, 52-yard fumble return (Stratten Wooddell kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Savion Farmer, 52-yard run (Cameron Zuliani kick).
Grafton – Daniel Bord, 4-yard pass from Tanner Moats (Wooddell kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Zuliani, 31-yard field goal.
Grafton – Justin Spiker, 63-yard punt return (kick failed).
Grafton – Arron Barker, 20-yard run (kick failed).
Grafton – Spiker, 42-yard run (Wooddell kick).
Grafton – Issac Lough, 63-yard pass from Moats (Wooddell kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Sterlin Thropp, 16-yard pass from Ian Donnen (Zuliani kick).
Grafton – Vanscoy, 27-yard run (Wooddell kick).
First downs – Buckhannon-Upshur: 8 (5 rushing, 3 passing, 0 penalty); Grafton: 18 (7 rushing, 10 passing, 1 penalty).
Rushing yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 37-162; Grafton: 31-167.
Passing yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 73; Grafton: 308.
Total yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 235; Grafton: 475.
Passes – Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-15-0; Grafton: 17-24-0.
Penalties – Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-42; Grafton: 3-28.
Punts – Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-30.8; Grafton: 1-31.0.
Fumbles – Buckhannon-Upshur: 3; Grafton: 1.
Fumbles lost – Buckhannon-Upshur: 3; Grafton: 1.
All-return yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 124; Grafton: 92.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Savion Farmer 20-89 (1 touchdown); Liam Garcia 4-36; Bryson Johnston 2-11; Sterlin Thropp 1-7; Zach Mayle 4-7; Ian Donnen 2-6; Austin Watson 1-4; Elijah Bryant 3-2. Totals 37-162 (1 touchdowns).
Grafton – Arron Barker 12-102 (1 touchdown); Justin Spiker 2-48 (1 touchdown); Isaiah Vanscoy 1-27 (1 touchdown); Issac Lough 2-17; Jarrett Blackhurst 5-11; Seth Horne 1-1; Camden Foley 1-(-5); Tanner Moats 7-(-34). Totals 31-167 (3 touchdowns).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen 6-for-15 for 73 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions.
Grafton – Moats – 17-for-24 for 308 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Thropp 3-53 (1 touchdown); Bryant 2-12; Carter Zuliani 1-8. Totals 6-73 yards (1 touchdown).
Grafton – Kaden Delaney 7-115; Lough 2-67 (1 touchdown); Daniel Bord 4-59 (1 touchdown); Barker 3-45; Spiker 1-22. Totals 17-308 (2 touchdowns).