Buccaneers look to rebound against the Bearcats


TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Buccaneers football team will look to rebound from a loss to #3 ranked University last week as they travel to take on the Grafton Bearcats this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in a conference clash. 

The Buccaneers will enter the game with a 2-5 record and Coach Zach Davis said that he feels his young squad is amped up for this week’s game and ready put last week behind them. “I think that everyone knew how good University was, so we took some positives from that game and moved on.”

Coach Davis set aside Monday for mental preparation, giving his football team time to watch film and shift focus to their next opponent. This has set them up for a good week of practice as they continue to work to improve further and aid their efforts to rebuild their football program.

Coach Davis made it clear what he expects out of his squad Friday night. He stated, “I want them to go out and compete, play hard, and most importantly play to our standard. We talk about making people remember the night they play the Bucs. Win or lose, we want to play a physical brand of football. We hang our hats on that, that is our identity. We are a tough, blue-collar team.”

Coach Davis feels that his team matches up well against Grafton, especially in the trenches. “We feel that both our offensive and defensive lines are both playing very well. We feel that that’s the strength of our team this year. We are very physical upfront and that’s an area we feel that we match up very well against most of the opponents on our schedule,” Coach Davis explained.

This week’s opponent, Grafton, certainly won’t make it easy on Davis’ young Bucs’ efforts to get things back on the right track. They enter the game with a 6-2 record having recently dismantled Richwood, 48-6. Last week, the Bearcats won 1-0 via forfeit against Phillip Barbour. This week against the Bucs, the Bearcats are seeking to keep their winning streak alive. Coming into this week, Grafton is on a five-game winning streak after starting the season 1-2.

The Bucs are hoping to cool off their rather hot opponent. Coach Davis stated that his keys to do so on Friday night were to, “establish the run in order to set up the pass, to focus our defensive game plan on limiting explosive plays, and to win the turnover battle.” If the Bucs manage that, they feel that they stand a great chance of putting the Bearcats’ winning streak to rest.

Coach Davis isn’t taking the challenge that the 6-2 Grafton Bearcats pose to his Buccaneers squad lightly. He expressed, “We are facing a well-coached team, full of good players—the typical things you see on film from a 6-2 team.” With that being said, he added, “They have not played the caliber of teams that we have so far this season, so I believe that is something that we can draw on and use to our advantage as we prepare for this week.”

Utilizing a balanced attack, Grafton’s offense can be quite efficient as they enter this week averaging just a shade over 30 points a contest. They can hurt their opponent both through the air and on the ground, and they have a bevy of playmakers at their disposal, led by QB Tanner Moats. Stopping him will be important if the Bucs hope to score an important road victory.

Coach Davis plans on slowing down Grafton’s multifaceted offense by staying true to his football team’s identity. “We just need to do what we do. We need to do our best to limit big plays, make sure we line up correctly, focus on reading our keys and put our players in the right spots, so that they can have the appropriate response when a play is run,” assured Coach Davis.

It would seem Coach Davis expects his young team to continue to improve, much as they have sought to do all season. It is clear that he expects to use last week’s tough loss to University as a learning experience to prepare his for the last three game stretch of the season.

Following their trip up north for Friday night’s game against Grafton, the Bucs will have a date at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium with the Preston County Knights next Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. kick-off.

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