BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School football Buccaneers hosted the Monarchs of John Marshall Friday night in non-conference action at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium. On Homecoming night, the Bucs were plagued by turnovers and ended the night falling to the Spartans in a 14-33 decision.
The Monarchs would win the coin toss; however, chose to defer possession until the second half. The Bucs first drive of the night faced ball control issues as they would be forced to punt after just four plays. The Monarchs struggled as well in their first possession of the night when they fumbled the ball on the Bucs 30-yard line, which was recovered by B-UHS junior lineman Dalton Crites. The Bucs would then drive the ball 43 yards on eight plays, but they were forced to punt the ball at the Monarchs 41-yard line. Sophomore Bryson Johnston had a nice 40-yard punt, giving the Monarchs the ball on their own 3-yard line.
The Monarchs next drive would go 40 yards in six plays when Crites sacked junior quarterback Jacob Coffield, forcing the Monarchs to punt from their own 40-yard line.
The Bucs offense gained momentum in their next possession of the night, moving the ball well after taking possession at their own 34-yard line. The Bucs would drive the ball 66 yards down the field in just seven plays. Junior Savion Farmer had a drive into the end zone with 11:11 left in the second quarter to give the Bucs their first touchdown of the night. Senior kicker Cameron Zuliani aced the extra point, giving the Bucs the lead 7-0.
In the next play, John Marshall took possession of the ball on their own 39-yard line. Their drive was marked by a long pass from quarterback Coffield to wide receiver Braden Sobutka. The Monarchs would move the ball 61 yards in seven plays with senior Koda Moore running the ball into the end zone with 8:33 left in the second quarter. The Monarchs did not get the extra point.
The Bucs took possession of the ball on their own 20-yard line, but they did not make any progress when a pass was intercepted by the Monarchs’ defense. The Monarchs would cash in on the drive, reaching the end zone with 5:15 left in the first half. The Bucs defense stepped up, stopping the Monarchs as they attempted a two-point conversion.
The Bucs offense was again plagued by turnovers on their next drive with the Monarchs intercepting the ball and taking possession. The Bucs’ defense was able to slow down the drive and kept the Monarchs out of the end zone. The Bucs were not able to move the ball in their last possession of the half. Taking possession of the ball with just 39.2 seconds left on the clock, Monarch senior Ben McCardell carried the ball 62 yards, giving John Marshall excellent field position which allowed them to find the end zone as the clock ran out. The Monarchs led the Bucs going into half time, 19-7.
The Monarchs would start the third quarter taking possession of the ball on their own 38-yard line. The Bucs’ defense came out hungry with big tackles by seniors Alex Bennett and Logan Kelley, stopping the Monarchs’ first drive of the second half.
The Bucs’ offense struggled on their first possession, which ended on another turnover. The Monarchs would take advantage and managed to reach the end zone with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
The Buccaneers were able to gain a burst of momentum late in the fourth quarter, moving the ball 66 yards in just four plays. Sophomore Liam Garcia ran the ball 54 yards into the Monarchs’ end zone, giving the Bucs their second touchdown of the night with Zuliani making good on the extra point. The Bucs defense was able to hold the Monarchs on their last drive of the night; however, they came up short on the night, losing the contest 14-33.
“Our performance was so much better than last week and showed a ton of improvement over last year’s meeting with John Marshall,” remarked Coach Zach Davis. “Four turnovers and at the end of the half, we gave up a touchdown. The clock should have run out but didn’t. We just got to overcome it and next week, lets go win the pick.”
On the improved defensive play, Coach Davis attributed it to, “Coaching and practicing. They have practiced hard—good coaching and good players.”
The Bucs, now 1-3 on the season, will face the 1-3 Minutemen of Lewis County at home Friday in conference action for the “Battle of the Pick.” The game is scheduled to start with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
Greenbrier East 0 19 14 0 – 33
Buckhannon-Upshur 0 7 0 7 – 14
Buckhannon-Upshur – Savion Farmer 8-yard carry (Cameron
Buckhannon-Upshur – Liam Garcia 54-yard carry (Cameron Zuliani kick)
Buccaneer Individual Offensive Statistics:
Savion Farmer, 107 yards rushing, 1 touchdown
Liam Garcia, 62 yards rushing, 1 touchdown
Luke Yardley, 43 yards rushing
Elijah Bryant, 16 yards rushing
Ian Donnen, 11 yards rushing, 2 yards passing, 2 interceptions
Zack Mayle, 7 yards rushing