Bucs look to keep momentum going against Ripley


TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers will look for win number two of the young season when they open their home campaign against the Ripley Vikings tonight at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.

Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Bucs are fresh off a 21-14 win against the Princeton Tigers last week and Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle is hopeful the Bucs can keep that momentum going tonight against the Vikings.

“The team has been very upbeat and practicing with an excitement and confidence,” remarked Stoeckle. “It’s nice to always win the first one. They start to believe in the things we are doing works.”

Despite the upbeat atmosphere Stoeckle said his squad was ‘not as sharp’ as he would have liked earlier in the week.

“I will chalk some of that up to the heat,” stated Stoeckle. “Practice hasn’t been sloppy but it hasn’t been as sharp as we had hoped, but the players worked through it this week. We always hope working them hard throughout the week makes it easy on them Friday night.”

Stoeckle praised the effort of his team last week after coming back two different times.

“We gave a great effort last week,” stated Stoeckle. “There are two things that you can always control and that is attitude and effort. We were down 7-0 and 14-13 but the team never panicked. They knew we had a lot of game left to play.”

Last week against Princeton, the B-U offense compiled 303 yards of offense and Stoeckle is looking for that same type of production night.

Junior quarterback Ryan Strader led the charge with 137 yards on the ground and had all three of Buckhannon-Upshur’s scores.

“Strader had a great night, there is no doubt about that,” stated Stoeckle. “You could see his maturity grow from last season to this season. Now we need for him to put it together for game two, and game three and for the rest of the season. I thought our slots and our split ends did a great job of blocking too. Most of Strader’s big runs can be attributed to the blocking by our wide outs.”

On top of Strader’s big game, Dash Davis gained 66 yards on 14 carries while Jacob Loudin had 21 yards on three carries.

Ripley is coming off a 27-7 road loss to Parkersburg South.

After playing against a pass-happy Princeton team last week, the Buccaneers will get back to seeing a more traditional run-orientated offense from the Vikings

R. J. Evans led the Vikings in the running department with 80 yards on 18 carries while Jeremy Harper had 13 carries for 35.

Ripley used a pair of passers last week as Justin Wheeler was 2-of-5 passing for 21 yards and a touchdown while Cyrus Casto was 2-of-4 for 10 yards.

“Ripley has a big offensive line that really gets off the ball,” remarked Stoeckle. “Our defensive line is going to have to match their intensity or we are going to be in trouble because they get off the ball well. They have some speedy tailbacks and a nice big fullback in Harper. They can bring it right at you, they are a very run-orientated team that will throw some misdirection at you. Wheeler is more of a game-manager type of quarterback, but he can make some plays.”

Stoeckle said the key to winning the game is going to be controlling the line of scrimmage.

“We have to control the line on both sides,” stated Stoeckle. “Offensively we have to protect the ball and make the big plays. On defense we just have to top their power running game. We need to jump on them early and force them to play catch-up football.”

The one drawback to the victory last week was the Buc were guilty of 15 penalties for 135 yards.

Stoeckle said the Bucs will have a much cleaner game this week.

“No doubt we had too many dumb penalties last week,” said Stoeckle. “I can live with effort penalties. Having a player go hard and have something happen is fine. But the dumb stuff, the personal fouls, you will see a cleaner game from us. We addressed that in practice this week and our senior leaders stepped up addressing it as well.”

Following the three-hour bus ride to Princeton, Stoeckle and his Buccaneers welcome their home opener tonight.

“No bus trip tonight,” joked Stoeckle. “We will be fired up to play at home. The seniors have a chance to carry the Buccaneer flag onto their field for the first time this season, the band will be playing, it will be nice to be home and I expect a great atmosphere tonight.”

The game will kick-off at 7:30 p.m.

“It is going to come down to who can block better and who can tackle better,” commented Stoeckle. “You can run all the schemes you want, but it really comes down to who does those  two things better will usually win the game.”


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