TENNERTON – The No. 20 Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers will look to recover from their 59-3 loss to Morgantown last week as they welcome the No. 19 University Hawks in a non-conference battle this Friday night at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
Kickoff of the top 20 showdown is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Both teams will enter the contest with identical 2-3 records.
The Bucs were not only beat on the scoreboard but physically beat up by Morgantown last week
“Morgantown beat us up physically,” noted Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis. “We watched the tape, and we did some good things, just physically we had a hard time. Our guys were trying hard, but we were just getting beat. We will be down a couple of guys against University.”
The most prominent injury last Friday occurred to starting sophomore quarterback Dawson Tenney, who suffered an ankle injury and will likely miss the remainder of the year.
The Bucs will now turn to freshman quarterback Brody McDaniels, who completed three of his nine passes for 18 yards, in a relief role last week.
“We are going to miss everything that Dawson brings to this team, but our expectations for this upcoming game and the season won’t change,” said Davis. “We just have to get McDaniels ready now. He has had a good year at the junior varsity level, but we all know it’s a different type of game on Friday night. We need to run the ball well to take the pressure off him. Make it so he can digest the game plan and be successful at it.”
It is the second straight year where Davis has had to turn to a freshman to play quarterback. Last year, an injury to starter Ian Donnen forced Tenney into action and now this year, Tenney’s injury will allow McDaniels to finish out the season.
“Unfortunately, this is something that we are getting used to,” explained Davis about playing a freshman at quarterback.
Despite the loss last week, the Bucs dropped just one spot in this week’s WVSSAC ratings as they slid from 19 to 20th. University is ranked 19th this week after dropping a 27-23 home loss to Fairmont Senior last Friday as the Polar Bears intercepted a pass in the Hawk endzone on the final play of the game.
With both teams looking in from the outside, this is a key game as both teams hope to begin a playoff push as the second half of the season starts.
“Our kids know where we are ranked, but it’s not something I read or look over,” said Davis. “I know we are being helped this year by their new formula having Bridgeport, Philip Barbour and Morgantown on our schedule, but we can’t solely rely on that, we have to win some games along the way too.”
University has wins over John Marshall and Wheeling Park this season and Davis knows that the Hawks will be ready to return to the win column with a victory over his Bucs.
“University has good skill players like they always do,” stated Davis. “They are just younger this year than they normally are. They are young but have a lot of good football players. They like to spread you out on offense and throw the ball a lot. On defense they run a 4-2-5 but I expect them to stack the line against us.”
Davis said it’s the same keys to victory against University that it has been against every team this year – run the ball and win the turnover battle.
“We really need to run the ball, control the clock and keep their offense off the field,” stated Davis. “We need to limit their explosive plays and try to force some turnovers. If we can do those things, that will put us right where we need to be.”
Following Friday’s clash with University, the Bucs will remain home next Friday to host the Lewis County Minutemen.