TENNERTON – Little went wrong for the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School Little Bucs during their regular season as they piled up eight wins with no defeats.
But in a rematch with the Washington Irving Hilltoppers in the Mid-8 Conference championship game, it just was not the Little Bucs’ night.
B-UMS defeated Washington Irving in their season opener by a 34-14 score, but Thursday night at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium, they had two fumbles inside the Hilltopper red zone and gave up two 50-yard-plus scoring plays to Washington Irving in a disappointing 12-10 setback.
“They say on any given night any team can lose and tonight was our night,” said a dejected Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School head coach Dave Chipps after the game. “It just wasn’t our night. I am still proud of this team. We kept going at it and never quit.”
To make matters worse, the Little Bucs lost Brody Jeran for the game to an injury in the first quarter after starting the contest without two starters in Forest Catlin and Zack Simmons.
“That is six positions on offense and defense and over 10 if you count special teams,” stated Chipps. “It’s not an excuse; we fumbled inside their 20 twice which hurt us. Give Washington Irving credit; they played a heck of a game. We gave up two big plays and that was the difference in the score.”
The Little Bucs held Washington Irving on downs on their first possession at the Little Buc 21-yard line.
B-UMS moved the ball to the Washington Irving 15-yard line but fumbled the ball away.
The two teams traded possessions before Washington Irving got on the scoreboard first midway through the second quarter.
Elijah Holmes slipped past the B-UMS secondary and caught a pass from Chris Smith on a halfback option pass good for 51 yards and the score with 3:43 remaining in the half.
The two-point conversion pass was no good but the Hilltoppers owned a 6-0 lead.
B-UMS took their next drive down the Washington Irving seven-yard line and got on the scoreboard with a 24-yard field goal by Aiden Snyder with 26 seconds left in the half making it a 6-3 game.
With the score still 6-3, the Little Bucs marched into Hilltopper territory again early in the fourth quarter but coughed up the ball at the Washington Irving 20-yard line.
Two players later, Smith broke free up the middle of the field for a 77-yard touchdown run giving the Hilltoppers a 12-3 lead with 5:01 remaining in the game.
The Little Bucs answered with a seven-play drive that went 60 yards capped off by a two-yard run by Dylan Foster.
Snyder was good on his point-after kick making at a 12-10 contest with 3:22 left.
Washington Irving was able to pick up a first down and run the clock out as the Little Bucs never got the ball back.
The Hilltopppers edged the Little Bucs in total yards by a 210-207 count.
Smith led the Washington Irving offense with 138 yards on 15 carries and completed two passes for 71 yards.
Foster paced the Little Buc offense with 120 yards on 23 carries and one score and had one reception for 35 yards.
McDaniels completed two passes for 49 yards.
Washington Irving finished their year with an 8-1 record while the Little Bucs closed out their year with that same 8-1 mark after posting a perfect 8-0 mark during the regular season.
“After the game, we told them team we love them and now is the time to stick together,” concluded Chipps. “You take the pain that goes along with this loss and use it to your advantage. We expected to win and it didn’t turn out that way. Now they have to work a little harder next year. We took this loss hard, but I am proud of what we accomplished this year. It was amazing.”
Chipps said after the game that he will be stepping down as head coach of the Little Bucs.
“This really was my last year,” noted Chipps. “I am done and that is what I told the team after the game. I stuck around one more year, this year, to be with these kids. Most of them have been with us three years and I wanted to finish out with them and I glad I am did. This was a great team to end a 42-year coaching career with.
Washington Irving 0 6 0 6 – 12
Buckhannon-Upshur 0 3 0 7 – 10
Washington Irving – Elijah Holmes, 51-yard pass from Chris Smith (pass failed).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Aidan Snyder, 24-yard field goal.
Washington Irving – Smith, 77-yard run (pass failed).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Dylan Foster, 2-yard run (Snyder kick).
First downs – Washington Irving: 10 (7 rushing, 2 passing, 1 penalty); Buckhannon-Upshur: 11 (8 rushing, 2 passing, 1 penalty).
Rushing yards – Washington Irving: 24-139; Buckhannon-Upshur: 35-158.
Passing yards – Washington Irving: 71; Buckhannon-Upshur: 49.
Totals yards – Washington Irving: 210; Buckhannon-Upshur: 207.
Passes – Washington Irving: 2-5-0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2-7-0.
Penalties – Washington Irving: 8-60; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2-10.
Punts – Washington Irving: 0-0.0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 1-16.0.
Fumbles – Washington Irving: 2; Buckhannon-Upshur: 3.
Fumbles lost – Washington Irving: 0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2.
All-return yards – Washington Irving: 29; Buckhannon-Upshur: 35.
Washington Irving – Chris Smith 15-138 (1 touchdown); Jacob Nutt 4-16; Isaac Barksdale 1-8; Brodie Stout 2-(-5); team 2- (-2). Totals 24-139 (1 touchdown).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Dylan Foster 23-120 (1 touchdown); Kayden Baisden 5-22; Brody Jeran 1-8; Levi Cook 2-6; Brody McDaniels 3-6; team 1-(-4). Totals 35-158 (1 touchdown).
Washington Irving – Smith 2-for-5 for 71 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions.
Buckhannon-Upshur – McDaniels 2-for-7 for 49 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Washington Irving – Elijah Holmes 1-51 (1 touchdown); Barksdale 1-20. Totals 2-71 (1 touchdown).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Foster 1-35; Chance Morgan 1-14. Totals 2-49.