TENNERTON – When the WVSSAC pushed back the start of the fall athletic seasons, the season-opener for the Buckhannon-Upshur football Bucs against Fairmont Senior in Fairmont was canceled, leaving the Bucs with just nine games.
Buckhannon-Upshur athletic director Rick Reynolds and head coach Duane Stoeckle immediately went to work to secure the Bucs a replacement game, which will be the Hampshire Trojans.
The Bucs had to find a team with a bye week during the fourth week of the season on Sept. 18.
“After one of our phase 3 practices last week, the coaching staff started to look at WVSSAC state-wide schedules to find which teams had bye weeks during our open week,” stated Stoeckle. “Turns out Mr. Reynolds and the Hampshire athletic director were in contact with each other earlier as well. After practice last Wednesday I spoke with Hampshire head coach Aaron Rule. The next day Mr. Reynolds worked out the details. To balance each schools home and away schedules we will travel to Hampshire.”
Stoeckle was hopeful that the Bucs could find another Big 10 Conference team to fill the empty spot in the schedule, but no other conference team shared the bye week with the Bucs.
“We always felt that we would be able to secure a 10-game season,” remarked Stoeckle. “Mr. Reynolds had a meeting with the other Big 10 Conference athletic directors and we felt it would be easy to find a Big 10 conference member with the same bye week as us, especially since classification didn't apply to this year. Of course, as it turns out, it wasn't that simple because no other conference school had the same bye week.”
Hampshire is no stranger to the Buckhannon-Upshur schedule as the two teams played each other from 2012-16. The Bucs won three of the five prior meetings.
“They have a new coach in Aaron Rule this season, but they do have a familiar feel to them,” noted Stoeckle. “It been a pretty competitive series in the past.”
The addition of Hampshire will give the Bucs now seven Class AAA opponents and three Class AA opponents.
“It was wide open this year in regard to classification and waiving some requirements, but it is always good to play another AAA opponent,” concluded Stoeckle.
The Bucs will now open their season Sept. 4 hosting the Ripley Vikings.