MORGANTOWN – During their off-season summer workouts, the Buckhannon-Upshur football Bucs ventured to Morgantown to play the University Hawks, North Marion Huskies and the Preston Knights in 7v7 contests.
“The University 7v7 and lineman challenges are always a fun time for our players,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle. “University’s head coach John Kelley and athletic director Jeff Bailey always run an organized tournament. It’s a good tournament for us because it has a varsity and junior varsity division and includes linemen, so we get to take a lot of kids to participate.”
The Bucs were runners-up in the tournament as Preston won it.
Preston also won the lineman challenge.
“We use it as a learning experience as we are not really concerned about wins and losses,” stated Stoeckle. “We put in new plays, concepts, and coverages to find what works and doesn't work. We have the opportunity to evaluate players offensively and defensively and it helps us see what many of our younger and new players can do. With that being said, any time you compete you want to do well.”
The varsity Bucs had a slow start in their first game but fought back to wind up in the championship game after beating University in the semi-finals.
“Unfortunately we lost a close one, but it was great to see our players fight back after our slow start,” remarked Stoeckle. “We got better as the day progressed. We always tell our players to be better when they leave the field after practice, than when we get on the field before practice. We got better.”
Stoeckle said several players on offense had good days.
“Offensively, We moved the ball well and scored a bunch,” noted Stoeckle. “Ryan Strader had a good day throwing the ball and for the most part did a great job reading his progressions. Brayden Cutlip had a great day catching the ball and at 6-4 has a major advantage over most corners. Trenton Westfall had good a day catching the football and getting yards after the catch. Tyler Kuhn made several tough catches in traffic and made several nice runs after the catch.
“Defensively for the most part we had proper alignments, played good team defense, and came down with a bunch of interceptions (three in the semi-finals alone vs University).
“Our offensive line finished fourth out of about nine teams (teams could have more than one).
Stoeckle said the 7v7 was a nice way to wrap up the first week of the summer session.
“All-in-all a good day,” he concluded. “A nice reward after the first week of the three-week period.”