TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers, fresh off their 31-14 victory over Lewis County last Friday night, will have their toughest opponent to date as they host the unbeaten and fourth-ranked University Hawks.
Kickoff of the non-conference contest is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
True to his coaching mantra, Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis is more concerned about the play of his Buccaneers than the opponent in front of them.
“We really don’t talk about the opponent most weeks,” noted Davis. “We usually just share some cut-ups of film of our opponents but we never share a full game with the team. I am more concerned about us playing to the best of our ability and our standards. It doesn’t matter who we play.”
University will enter the game with a 6-0 record after beating out-of-state opponent Albert Gallatin (Pa.) last Friday by a 36-14 score.
When asked who impressed him on the University roster, Davis joked ‘the whole roster.’
The Hawks are led by junior quarterback Chase Edwards.
“He is a good player,” noted Davis. “An athletic kids that can throw the ball.”
His favorite target is junior wide out Sage Clawges while the backfield is led by senior Colin McBee.
“They have a lot of seniors on the team,” stated Davis. “They were sort of down last year. It’s my understanding that they completely revamped most of their coaching staff. So in a way it’s a fresh start for them. They have a ton of good players, they are one of the better teams in the state this year.”
For the Bucs (2-4), part of their improved play in recent weeks has been the work of the offensive line of right tackle Dalton Crites, right guard Ryan Kelley, center Dylan Hoover, left guard Joel Hershman and left tackle Logan Kelley.
The offensive line has allowed Buckhannon-Upshur backs to gain 547 yards on the ground the last two weeks.
“Coach (Buffy) Johnson is doing a great job with the line,” stated Davis. “That is where games are won and lost. They were knocking some people around last Friday, but you have to do that with our style of offense. If we can keep getting six yards a rush, we are going to keep running the ball.”
Davis said to win the University game Friday night, they have to slow down a Hawk’s offense that averages 46 points per game.
“We have to slow them down,” commented Davis. “They are very talented at the skill positions. That is the strength of their team. We have to contain their skill players and not give up the big plays to them. For us, we need to be able to move the ball methodically. We need some five- or six-minute drives and keep the ball away from them. We want the total play count to be under 150 plays. We want it to be as low as we can go because that is the style of ball we play.”
Following Friday night’s game, the Bucs will head to Grafton next Friday for a 7 p.m. Big 10 Conference battle with the Bearcats.