Football Bucs look to finish strong; visit No. 14 Bearcats Friday night

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers will look to rebound from their 63-6 loss to No. 3 University last week as they venture to Grafton to play another ranked team Friday, the Class AA 14th-ranked Bearcats.

Grafton enters the game with a 5-2 record while the Bucs will start the game with a 2-5 record.

Kickoff for the Big 10 encounter is set for 7 p.m.

“We are ready to go again,” said Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis about his team shaking off the University loss and preparing for the Bearcats. “University is very good, probably one of the top two or three teams in the state. Before we left last Friday night, we watched some Grafton game film just to get the University game in the past. But we are ready to play again. They still have a lot of confidence and we are ready to move onto the next one.”

With the University game in the rear-view mirror, the Bucs still have a chance to finish .500 if they can win their final three contests and that starts with Grafton Friday night.

“Our motto these final three weeks is ‘Finish,’” stated Davis. “That starts Friday night. Let’s play to the best of our ability and let the chips fall where they may. We want to finish strong.”

Grafton will be fighting to stay in the top 16 this week in Class AA, something that Davis says may give them extra motivation against his Bucs.

“I think that means something to them, especially at the start of the game,” noted Davis. “But as the game goes on, it just becomes a game of football. That said, I know they will come out and play hard and they want to be in the playoffs. They are a very proud program and will want to do well against us Friday night.”

The Bearcats were scheduled to play Philip Barbour last week but the game was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns on the Philip Barbour’s side.

Davis said it depends on where Grafton is at as a team if the week off was beneficial or will hurt the Bearcats.

“It’s hard to tell,” noted Davis. “If they were banged up as a team it will certainly help them. I don’t know if it will help them or hurt them. I guess we will see Friday night.”

Davis said he is impressed with Grafton’s roster.

“They have some great skill kids,” said Davis. “They have a nice tailback and a great wide out. They all have good nights. You have to take them all seriously. We need to match schemes with them to be successful. They like to go spread but they don’t go fast. They still huddle. They like to run the ball from the spread. I think it will be a hard-nosed, physical game.”

Davis did get some good news this week that starting tailback Savion Farmer, the Bucs leading rusher, will be back in uniform after missing last week’s University game.

For the Bucs to win the game, Davis said the Bucs need another quick start like they had two weeks ago against Lewis County.

“We need to start fast and finish strong,” concluded Davis. “We need to do a better job in our passing game. I am the quarterbacks coach so I will take responsibility for that. We still need to run the ball. I think if we win the rushing battle we can win the game.”

Following Friday night’s game, the Bucs will return home next Friday hosting Preston.

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