TENNERTON – With the start of their official first day of practice just two weeks away (July 31), the Buckhannon-Upshur football team received some positive state-wide press recently.
In a sports article on WVMetroNews, the Bucs were named one of two non-playoff teams from last year with the best chance to reach the 2023 playoffs.
The article said, ”The Buccaneers closed the 2022 season well with three consecutive victories. B-U improved from 3-7 to 5-5 in Zach Davis’ second season leading the Bucs.”
The other team mentioned with the Bucs was Parkersburg.
With the success of last year for his program, Davis knows his team isn’t going to sneak up on anybody this season.
“I think expectations are a good thing,” stated Davis. “We have high expectations of ourselves, and it is cool to see that other people around the state do too. There were a bunch of teams they could have picked from and they chose to pick us. It’s a nice compliment. At the same time, people may not realize that we lost about 86 percent of our offense with the graduation of Savion Farmer and Elijah Bryant. We rushed for over 3,000 yards last year and those two accounted for a lot of that, but those two guys are gone.”
The Bucs recently wrapped up their summer commitments with their three-week summer period and hosting a two-day youth football camp last week.
Davis had 50 plus youngsters at both of days of camp.
He was also pleased with how their summer training went that was capped off with a 7v7 challenge with Doddridge County.
“I look at the summer as simply as a chance to improve,’” noted Davis. “We are making some changes to our schemes on offense and defense to best fit our personnel. We installed everything and it wasn’t great, but that is what the preseason is for. We have good skill players, but we have to use them in a way they can be successful. So, we were learning that and really just doing a lot of the little things that make a team be successful.”
While there has been some opposition by some of the three-week summer period, Davis said that he feels it’s not only good for his program but programs around the state.
“I think if you want to be good, you have to use this three-week period and use as much of it as you see fit for your team,” remarked Davis.
Davis, now beginning his third year, remarked that everything gets easier with each passing year.
“Everyone knows what to expect at this point,” said Davis. “How we practice, how we go about things and what we expect. Our team is very teachable, and we have a good staff that teaches, and I think sometimes that is something that gets undervalued. The ability to teach and to motivate.”
Davis also said he was pleased with the attendance of his team this summer with so many things available to the student-athletes.
“We averaged in the mid-40s almost every day,” noted Davis. “Guys are going on vacation, playing basketball or baseball, which we like, but come July 31, it is football season.”
Davis said the biggest takeaway from the summer is what he and his staff learned about the team.
“We learned that different guys can do different things,” concluded Davis. “There are guys that are going to have to step up and do more and they are able to do more. They haven’t been asked to do more before because they had guys in front of them, but now is their time and I think they are going to surprise some people with their performances.”
Davis and his Bucs will open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 25 hosting Bridgeport.