ELKINS – Quarterback Ian Donnen ran for four touchdowns and the Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers dominated throughout as they won their regular-season finale Friday night over the Elkins Tigers by a 33-6 score in the “Battle for the Axe.”
All four of Donnen’s touchdown runs were three yards or shorter as he had scoring runs of one, three, one and two yards.
Donnen also has his best game of the year throwing the ball as he completed six of his nine passes for 136 yards.
His favorite target was senior Sterlin Thropp who caught four passes for 110 yards.
Thropp also had a carry for 17 yards giving him 127 yards of total offense for the game.
“Their corners were playing inside of me with no safety overtop, so that left me wide open for most of the game,” stated Thropp after the win. “To have a big game in my final game, it just means everything to me. We are the kings of Route 33 with our wins over Lewis County, Philip Barbour and Elkins. We got the axe back!”
Thropp was quick to compliment Donnen and the offensive line for his big game.
“Donnen played well,” said Thropp. “When he was getting pressured, he still remained on point with this throws. The offensive line played well. I am just happy with how we responded from last week’s performance and happy for the rest of the seniors that we were able to go out with the win.”
Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis had high praise for both Donnen’s and Thropp’s performances Friday night.
“Ian has gotten better as the season went on and he really showed that here tonight,” remarked Davis. “We see it in practice from him all the time and we saw it our game tonight. That is what we expect from him. Sterlin had a great game as well. He hung in there and stuck with it and gave us huge results tonight.”
The Buckhannon-Upshur defense also had a huge hand in the victory as they held Elkins to just 70 yards of offense, forced a pair of Elkins turnovers and collected a safety in the fourth quarter.
“Defensively, I thought we did a great job and held them to almost nothing,” stated Davis.
Davis wanted a quick start to the game for his Bucs and that is exactly what he got when the B-U defense forced an Elkins turnover on the first play of the game.
The Bucs turned that fumble into three points as Cameron Zuliani nailed a 23-yard field goal with 7:01 showing on the first-quarter clock.
The Buccaneer defense held Elkins to negative five yards on their next possession and took over the ball after a one-yard punt at the Elkins 24-yard line.
Five plays later they were in the end zone when Donnen pushed the ball across on a keeper from a yard out.
The two-point conversion was no good but the Bucs led 9-0 with 2:19 left in the first quarter.
After Elkins missed a field goal on their next drive, the Bucs went back to work with an impressive 13-play drive that covered 80 yards and chewed up almost eight minutes of the clock.
Donnen capped off the drive with a two-yard run that gave the Bucs a 15-0 lead with 4:02 left in the half.
Elkins fumbled the ball away again on the first play of their next drive on a bad snap and the Bucs took over at the Elkins 32-yard line.
Eight plays later, Donnen scored his third touchdown with a one-yard keeper with 39 seconds remaining in the half.
Zuliani’s point-after kick was good as the Bucs took a 22-0 advantage, which was the score at the half.
B-U took the second-half kickoff off and marched it 49 yards in 10 plays with Donnen taking it into the end zone from two yards out.
The two-point conversion play was no good as the Bucs owned a 28-0 lead with 5:47 left in the third quarter.
Elkins avoided the shutout when Nicholas Bowers scored on a seven-yard run with 10:17 remaining in the contest.
The Bucs answered on their next drive with a 26-yard field goal by Zuliani, her second of the game, giving B-U a 31-6 lead with 7:04 remaining in the game.
The game got chippy midway in the fourth quarter as the two teams got into a minor flare-up that resulted in each team getting a pair of off-setting unsportsmanlike penalties.
The game settled down after that and the Bucs scored their final points on a fantastic play by senior Logan Kelley.
Kelley tracked down Elkins’ Javier Roserio in the backfield and forced a fumble with Roserio recovering it in the end zone for a negative 24-yard rush and a safety for the Bucs.
“Our guys came out ready to play,” concluded Davis. “We played some tough, physical football and that is the type of football we want to play. We also won the turnover battle which was huge for us. It was a great win and I am proud of our guys.”
Elkins ended their season with a 0-10 mark while the Bucs concluded their season with a 3-7 record.
Buckhannon-Upshur 9 13 6 5 – 33
Elkins 0 0 0 6 – 6
Buckhannon-Upshur – Cameron Zuliani, 23-yard field goal.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Ian Donnen 1-yard run (run failed).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen, 3-yard run (kick failed).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen, 1-yard run (Zuliani kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen, 2-yard run (pass failed).
Elkins – Nicholas Bowers, 7-yard run (kick failed).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Zuliani, 26-yard field goal.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Safety.
First downs – Buckhannon-Upshur: 14 (9 rushing, 4 passing, 1 penalty); Elkins: 7 (5 rushing, 1 passing, 1 penalty).
Rushing yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 45-129; Elkins: 32-46.
Passing yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 136; Elkins: 24.
Total yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 265; Elkins: 70.
Passes – Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-9-0; Elkins: 1-3-0.
Penalties – Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-32; Elkins: 7-38.
Punts – Buckhannon-Upshur: 1-36.0; Elkins: 1-1.0.
Fumbles – Buckhannon-Upshur: 2; Elkins 4.
Fumbles lost – Buckhannon-Upshur: 1; Elkins 2.
All-return yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 23; Elkins: 92.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Savion Farmer 17-65; Blake Runyon 5-20; Sterlin Thropp 1-17; Zack Mayle 4-14; Ian Donnen 7-7 (4 touchdowns); Elijah Bryant 5-5; Liam Garcia 4-3; team 2-(-2). Totals 45-129 (4 touchdowns).
Elkins – Thomas Williams 8-34; Nicholas Bowers 7-24 (1 touchdown); Chase Workman 1-9; Ethan McCarty 5-(-8); Javier Roserio 11-(-13). Totals 32-46 (1 touchdown).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen 6-for-9 for 136 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Elkins – McCarty 1-for-3 for 24 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Thropp 4-110; Mayle 1-14; Runyon 1-12. Totals 6-136.
Elkins – Lane Blake 1-24. Totals 1-24.