TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Buccaneers wasted no time shaking off a four-game losing streak to defeat Brooke High School 27-14 at Freal ‘Red’ Crites Memorial Stadium on Friday.
The win upped B-U’s record to 3-5 with two games left in the 2018 regular season – on the road at Preston next week and then at home against Elkins on Nov. 2.
Brooke, meanwhile, fell to 0-8 on the year. The Bruins are averaging just nine points per game over their last six contests, a stretch that includes a 70-0 walloping at Parkersburg South two weeks ago.
The Bucs sprinted out to a 21-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game. Buckhannon-Upshur’s first score was literally that – an 85-yard sprint by Jacob Loudin for the touchdown.
After Brooke turned the ball over on downs, Casey Hamner rumbled into the endzone to put the Bucs up 14-0. B-U recovered an onsides kick and quickly punched in another TD, this time with Dash Davis racing in for the score.
Freshman Cameron Zuliani went 3-for-3 on extra points to put the game at 21-0 after the first quarter.
“We wanted to start fast, stay strong and finish,” B-U head coach Duane Stoeckle said after the game. “For the most part we did that.”
Things slowed down in the second quarter as both teams started slinging the ball through the air but struggled to keep drives alive. Brooke had a sustained possession in the middle of the quarter, getting the ball into Buccaneer territory, but Gage Yost was sacked by Riley Lantz on fourth-and-long to kill the drive.
B-U got back to the ground game, gouging holes in the Bruin defense as they marched down the field, converting a fourth down before Zuliani attempted a 35-yard field goal that went wide left. Brooke got the ball back with under two minutes left in the half and was content to let the clock run out and head into intermission down 21-0.
The Bruins made things interesting to open the second half, recovering an onsides kick and scoring on a Yost touchdown run. The Bucs would give the ball back to Brooke, but an avalanche of penalties ended the Bruin drive and dulled any momentum they had built to open the half.
On B-U’s next possession, Davis again dashed into the endzone. Zuliani missed the extra point after a high snap, putting the game at 27-7.
Yost continued to carve up the Buccaneer defense through the air, and Brooke cut the lead to two possessions midway through the fourth quarter. But the B-U defense held for the rest of the contest, with Ryan Strader picking off a pass with under two minutes to play to ice the game.
Stoeckle was pleased with how his defense handled Brooke’s running game, but acknowledged they gave up some yards through the air.
“For the most part, I thought we controlled the [line of scrimmage], definitely on the offensive side, and also on the defensive side,” he said. “But they hit a few passes on us.”
The Bucs will now head to Preston County, which got shellacked 50-0 by University on Friday. The Knights are 1-7 on the season.
“Looking forward to Preston, anything could happen up there,” Stoeckle said. “Could be three feet of snow, who knows? We’ll play it out and see where we are at the end.”
After that, Buckhannon-Upshur will finish the regular season at home against Elkins, which held Lincoln scoreless Friday to improve to 3-5, the same record as the Bucs.