TENNERTON – It wasn’t the ending that Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis wanted for his Buccaneers on “Senior Night” in their outing with the Preston Knights Friday night at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
The Bucs were their own worst enemy, with seven fumbles (five lost) and an extra-point and field goal getting blocked in a disappointing 34-13 setback.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” responded Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis about his team’s five lost fumbles. “Our guys fought to the end, but we couldn’t overcome the turnovers. It’s disappointing for our seniors; they were a joy to coach.”
Preston scored on the first drive of the game on a five-yard run from Sheldon Miller. The big play of the drive was a 46-yard pass play from quarterback Slaton Manko to Riley Land on a third down and nine from their own 46-yard line.
B-U turned it over on their third play, with Preston recovering at the B-U 32-yard line.
They found the end zone in just two plays on a 34-yard catch by Land from Manko, making it 13-0 just four minutes into the game.
B-U responded with two consecutive scores on a pair of touchdown runs by Wyatt Morris.
He scored from three and two yards out as the Bucs closed the gap to 14-13 with 9:50 left in the second quarter.
Manko ran it in with 25 seconds remaining in the half from a yard out to give Presto a 21-13 lead at the break.
Neither team was able to find the end zone in the third quarter.
Preston put the game away with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 21-yard screen pass to Land from Manko and a one-yard run by Miller.
Preston outgained Buckhannon-Upshur by a 265-243 margin.
The Knights were led by Miller, who ran for 88 yards on 24 carries.
Manko completed six of his 18 passes for 118 yards. Land caught three balls for 102 yards.
For the Bucs, Morris went over the 1,000-yard mark after rushing for a game-high 157 yards and two scores on 27 attempts.
Brody McDaniels completed nine of his 17 passes for 72 yards. Bryson Johnston caught six balls for 49 yards, while Carter Zuliani hauled in three passes for 23 yards.
The Bucs wrapped up their 2023 season with a 3-7 record.
Preston 14 7 0 13 – 34
Buckhannon-Upshur 7 6 0 0 – 13
Preston – Sheldon Miller, 5-yard run (Cole Turner kick).
Preston – Riley Land, 34-yard pass from Slaton Manko (Turner kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Wyatt Morris 3-yard run (Wyatt Mason kick).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Morris, 2-yard run (kick blocked).
Preston – Manko, 1-yard run (Turner kick).
Preston – Land, 21-yard pass from Manko (kick failed).
Preston – Miller, 1-yard run (Turner kick).
First downs – Preston: 14 (10 rushing, 3 passing, 1 penalty); Buckhannon-Upshur: 13 (8 rushing, 4 passing, 1 penalty).
Rushing yards – Preston: 48-147; Buckhannon-Upshur: 37-171.
Passing yards – Preston: 126; Buckhannon-Upshur: 72.
Total yards – Preston: 265; Buckhannon-Upshur: 243.
Passes – Preston: 6-18-1; Buckhannon-Upshur: 9-17-0.
Penalties – Preston: 3-13; Buckhannon-Upshur: 3-12.
Punts – Preston: 3-29.3; Buckhannon-Upshur: 3-34.0.
Fumbles – Preston: 0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 7.
Fumbles lost – Preston: 0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 5.
All-Return yards – Preston: 64; Buckhannon-Upshur: 68.
Preston – Sheldon Miller 24-88 (2 touchdowns); Ethan Likens 13-40; Riley Land 1-13; Slaton Manko 8-6 (1 touchdown); Dillon Taylor 1-1; team 1-(-1). Totals 48-147 (3 touchdowns).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Wyatt Morris 27-157 (2 touchdowns); Daniel Hedrick 4-18; Luke Yardley 3-13; team 2-(-7); Brody McDaniels 1-(-10). Totals 37-171 (2 touchdowns).
Preston – Manko 6-for-18 for 126 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception.
Buckhannon-Upshur – McDaniels 9-for-17 for 72 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Preston – Land 3-102 (2 touchdowns); Dillon Taylor 2-16; Cody Smith 1-8. Totals 6-126 (2 touchdowns).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Bryson Johnston 6-49; Carter Zuliani 3-23. Totals 9-72.