TENNERTON – “We can't let the Lewis County loss effect this week’s game,” was the remark from Buckhannon-Upshur head football coach Duane Stoeckle made when asked about the Buckhannon-Upshur-University contest tonight at University High School.
The Bucs are coming off a disappointing 14-6 loss to Lewis County last Friday.
“It was a tough and disappointing loss for our team,” Stoeckle said. “Some players have worked hard and are ready to bounce back this week. Others our having a little more trouble getting over that loss. We will see the true character of some of our players this week and see if we can bounce back.”
The loss was the third in a row for the Bucs and dropped their record to 2-4 on the season but they can turn things around quickly with a win over the Hawks tonight.
The Bucs are still just four spots out of a play-off spot as they are ranked 20th this week in the WVSSAC rankings.
University offers a boat-load of points for the Bucs to move up the rankings with a win.
“This is a big game for us due to the fact we need a win and University is a AAA opponent with AAA points and bonus points,” Stoeckle stated. “In fact our next three opponents are all AAA schools so we need to take advantage of that and get some wins.”
University enters the game ranked 13th in Class with a 3-4 record.
Their three in-state losses are all to teams ranked in the top 10 – John Marshall and Wheeling Park in Class AAA and Fairmont Senior in Class A.
They are coming off a 34-13 loss to the 5-2 Mountain Ridge (Md.) Miners.
In that game quarterback Logan Holgorsen was out with a high ankle sprain that he suffered against St. Albans on Sept. 28.
J. T. Brown replaced him and threw for 100 yards and a touchdown but also threw two interceptions.
Receiver Amir Richardson also took snaps at quarterback but threw two interceptions as well.
Holgorsen is expected to play tonight against the Buccaneers.
The Bowling Green commit has thrown for 1,385 yards and 16 touchdowns this season while throwing seven interceptions.
While Holgorsen gets a lot of the headlines, it is Richardson that impresses Stoeckle the most.
“University has great skill players and probably the best all-around athlete we'll see this year in Richardson,” Stoeckle commented. “University runs a multiple spread offense with a lot of spread and trips gun formation. Their key guys who have been impressive are Richardson and Holgerson. Also senior wide receiver Evan Parow has some great moves and has a great job catching and running the ball.
“Defensively, the Hawks have been in the stack most of the year. You can see why WVU likes Richardson at the Spur position because he does a terrific job playing it for University. Also senior Christian Evans is an outstanding linebacker. He reads his keys well, uses his hands well to keep blockers off of him and he has a nose for the football. I think their offensive and defensive lines started the year inexperienced and had to go through some growing pains but they are definitely getting better.”
The B-U offense has outgained its last two opponents (Bridgeport and Lewis County) but will need to hold onto the ball tonight after six turnovers in their last two games including five last week against Lewis County.
Junior quarterback Ryan Strader has completed 61 percent of his passes the last two games (17-for-28) for 293 yards and two scores.
He has also led the B-U rushing attack the last two weeks with 179 yards on 34 attempts.
“They keys to victory are pretty simple this week,” concluded Stoeckle. “Play as a team and hold onto the football and keep the University offense off the field.”
Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.