TENNERTON – Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Zach Davis said from the start that rebuilding the football program wouldn’t happen overnight.
And while last Friday night’s win over Lewis County was a step in the right direction, Davis knew his Bucs would have their hands full with the unbeaten and fourth-ranked University Hawks tonight at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
The final results was a 63-6 setback for the Bucs.
“University is really good,” noted Davis. “They are probably one of the two best teams in the state right now. We just aren’t at that point to compete with a team of that caliber, but there are still things to build upon. Now we have to go get our next three games and start with getting Grafton next week.
Davis was hopeful his Bucs could slow down a University offense that was averaging 46 points a game, but the Hawks stuck with seven scoring plays of 25 yards or more, including a pair of 53-yard punt returns for touchdowns by Daminn Cunningham and a 69-yard kickoff return score by Cunningham.
“University is just so explosive,” said Davis. “You try to kick it away from certain guys but it’s tough.”
The Bucs failed to pick up a first down on their first possession of the game and a Bryson Johnston punt was fielded by Cunningham at the University 47-yard line and he made his way untouched into the end zone for the first score of the game.
University found the end zone three more times in the first quarter on a 43-yard touchdown reception from Sage Clawges and two touchdown runs from Colin McBee.
University had another 53-yard punt return for a score by Cunningham and Elija Jackson hauled in a 25-yard pass from Chase Edwards in the second quarter as they owned a 43-0 lead at the break.
Cunningham took the second half kickoff back to the house on a 78-yard return and then caught a screen pass and dashed 78 yards to the end zone to give the Hawks a 56-0 lead.
The lone bright spot for the Bucs happened on a possession late in the third quarter when they marched 87 yards in five plays for their lone touchdown.
A 25-yard pass and catch from quarterback Ian Donnen to receiver Carter Zuliani and a 55-yard scamper by tailbaack Liam Garcia helped set up a two-yard touchdown keeper by Donnen to get the Bucs on the board.
With a running clock in the fourth quarter, Avery Dalton wrapped up the scoring for University with a 10-yard touchdown run.
The Hawks amassed 350 yards of offense getting 218 through the air and 132 on the ground.
The Bucs collected 132 yards on offense.
Garcia led the Bucs with 67 yards on nine carries and a touchdown while Donnen completed two of his eight passes for 32 yards.
The Bucs were without the services of junior starting tailback Savion Farmer who was out with an injury.
University improved to 7-0 on the season and visit Preston next Friday.
The Bucs dropped to 2-5 on the year and will make the trip to Grafton next Friday for a 7 p.m. battle with the Bearcats.
University 28 15 13 7 – 63
Buckhannon-Upshur 0 0 6 0 – 6
University – Daminn Cunningham, 53-yard punt return (John Coleman kick)
University – Sage Clawges, 43-yard pass from Chase Edwards (Coleman kick)
University – Colin McBee, 10-yard run (Coleman kick)
University – McBee, 25-yard run (Coleman kick)
University – Cunningham, 53-yard punt return (Coleman kick)
University – Elija Jackson, 25-yard pass from Edwards (Luke Hudson pass to Donald Brandel).
University – Cunningham, 69-yard kickoff return (Coleman kick)
University – Cunningham, 78-yard pass from Edwards (run failed)
Buckhannon-Upshur – Ian Donnen, 2-yard run (run failed)
University – Avery Dalton, 10-yard run (McBee kick)
First downs – University: 12 (6 rushing, 6 passing, 0 penalty); Buckhannon-Upshur: 6 (3 rushing, 2 passing, 1 penalty).
Rushing yards – University: 19-132; Buckhannon-Upshur: 35-100.
Passing yards – University: 218; Buckhannon-Upshur: 32.
Total yards – University: 350; Buckhannon-Upshur: 132.
Passes – University: 9-15-0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2-8-1.
Penalties – University: 5-55; Buckhannon-Upshur: 1-5.
Punts – University: 1-43.0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-31.3.
Fumbles – University: 0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 3.
Fumbles lost – University: 0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 1
All-return yards – University: 201; Buckhannon-Upshur: 108.
University – Colin McBee 5-72 (2 touchdowns); Avery Dalton 5-20 (1 touchdown); Alex Donato 2-18; Kylen Blunt 3-13; Elija Jackson 1-10; Alejandro Sanchez-Solis 1-6; team 1-(-2); Luke Hudson 1-(-5). Totals 19-132 (3 touchdowns)
Buckhannon-Upshur – Liam Garcia 9-67 (1 touchdown); Elijah Bryant 7-21; Camden Snyder 8-13; Luke Yardley 2-3; Zach Mayle 5-2; Ian Donnen 4-(-6) 1 touchdown. Totals 35-100 (1 touchdown).
University – Chase Edwards 6-for-9 for 187 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions; Hudson 3-for-6 for 31 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Totals 9-for-15 for 218 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Donnen 2-for-8 for 32 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception.
University – Jackson 3-64 (1 touchdown); Cunningham 2-80 (1 touchdown); Sage Clawges 1-43 (1 touchdown); John Coleman 1-13; Jackson Shaver 1-12; Colton Guthrie 1-6. Totals 9-218 (3 touchdowns).
Buckhannon-Upshur – Carter Zuliani 1-25; Bryant 1-7. Totals 2-32.