TENNERTON – While the final score wasn’t what Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle and his team were hoping for, the veteran coach felt his young squad wasn’t that far away from being a competitive team against the Ripley Vikings Friday night when they two teams made their 2020 debut at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
The Bucs dropped a 42-0 decision.
“The scoreboard isn’t where we wanted it to be, but I think we were really close to being a good team tonight,” remarked Stoeckle. “Ripley is a quality team and I really don’t think we are that far away. This game won’t define our season.”
Ripley chewed up almost five minutes of the clock on their opening drive which went 52 yards in 12 plays and ended with Kadin Hall plunging in from a yard out.
The extra point was good by Carter Cochran as Ripley took a 7-0 lead.
Bad luck hit the Bucs on their first possession as they were forced to punt and a low snap forced B-U punter Ian Donnen to field it off the turf and his knee hit the ground while picking it up at the Ripley 11-yard line.
Three players later, Ripley was in the end zone again when Ty Stephens hit Joey Ramsey with a 16-yard pass.
The extra point was again good as Ripley took a 14-0 lead with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bucs caught a break when Isaiah Casto muffed a punt on the Bucs’ next possession and Elijah Bryant pounced on the loose ball for Buckhannon-Upshur at the Ripley 27-yard line.
The Bucs picked up one first down but were unable to score when Cameron Zuliani’s 28-yard field goal kick was blocked at the line.
Ripley took over at the 20 and scored in six plays with Ramsey s doing the honors on a 13-yard run with 8:01 left in the second quarter.
The Bucs turned it over on their next two possessions as Ripley picked off two passes and turned them both into scores.
Ramsey battled his way in from one-yard following the first turnover and then picked off a pass and returned it 33 yards for the score, giving Ripley a 35-0 lead with 3:05 left in the first half.
The Vikings scored just once in the second half, a seven-yard run by Hall in the fourth quarter.
“We have a lot of young guys out there,” remarked Stoeckle. “I felt we gave them three big plays early on. A lot of things that happened tonight are correctable. The team just have to keep believing in themselves. We can get better moving forward.”
Stoeckle said he was very pleased with the effort and heart that his team showed against Ripley.
“We are going to have some growing pains with such a young team but I like our guys, and I felt that they played all four quarters,” said Stoeckle. “You can get a real feel for your team based on when the score is out of hand in the fourth quarter on who is still playing and who isn’t. I think our guys played all four quarters. We were closer than the final scored showed. A couple of things here and there, but we are close to where we want to be. This is a good young group and I think you are going to see them do some good things this year. The great thing about youth is you can learn from your mistakes and fix them.”
The Bucs will return action this Friday when they host Philip Barbour at 7 p.m.
Ripley 14 21 0 7 – 42
Buckhannon-Upshur 0 0 0 0 – 0
Ripley – Kadin Hall, 1-yard run (Carter Cochran kick).
Ripley – Joey Ramsey, 16-yard pass from Ty Stephens (Kaitlyn Lawrence kick).
Ripley – Ramsey, 13-yard run (Cochran kick).
Ripley – Ramsey, 1-yard run (Lawrence kick).
Ripley – Ramsey, 33-yard interception return (Cochran kick).
Ripley – Hall, 7-yard run (Lawrence kick).