TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers will get back down to business tonight when they face the Preston Knights at University High School.
Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.
The Bucs will take the field for the first time since Oct. 2 when they lost a 55-7 road contest to John Marshall.
Since that game, the county remained orange for three straight weeks on the COVID-19 color-coded map.
Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle said it felt wonderful to be back on the turf practicing again this week.
“It felt great to get back on the field again,” remarked Stoeckle. “It made life seem normal again. We were definitely a little rusty, but we have picked things up again pretty quickly. For the most part we picked up where we left off.”
The Bucs will enter the game with a 1-4 record and hope to break a three-game losing streak. Prior to the interruption of the season, Stoeckle’s young Bucs were battling a rash of injuries.
A silver lining of the three weeks off was it allowed B-U to get healthy again and use the time off as sort of a restart according to Stoeckle.
“We decided to use the time off as a sort of reset button moving forward,” noted Stoeckle. “It also made us realize that nothing is guaranteed and you better take advantage of the chances you are given. We’ve done a good job of adapting, overcoming and improvising to all that has been thrown at us these last couple of weeks.”
Preston has dealt with their own adversity this season as their bleachers were condemned at the start of the month forcing them to go on the road or play neutral site games like tonight.
They also had to forfeit a game to Lewis County earlier on the season, not based on the COVID-19 map, but after it was determined that racial epitaphs were said to Robert C. Byrd players during their Sept. 18 game.
Preston will enter the game with a 1-7 record and will look to break their own two-game losing streak.
The Knights are coming off a 42-9 setback to University last Friday.
The Knights’ lone win occurred back on Oct. 9 when they defeated Lewis County by a 20-12 score.
Getting the ball into the end zone has been the big issue for Preston as they average just under nine points per game and have been shutout twice this season.
Stoeckle believes it will be a very competitive ball game between the two clubs as they both look for positives as their seasons come to an end.
“Both teams need a win and will work hard to get the victory tonight,” said Stoeckle. “With the game being played at University High School, that is a great setting for high school football.”
Stoeckle said the size of the Preston offensive and defensive lines is impressive.
“They are big and can move,” noted Stoeckle.
Stoeckle believes his Bucs are going to have to turn up the intensity and effort in all three phases of the game if they want to leave Morgantown with a win.
“We have to move the football on offense and finish drives in the end zone,” remarked Stoeckle. “Defensively we have to improve our tackling and stop their strong run game.”
The Bucs final regularly scheduled game is slated for next week when the Bucs host Elkins.
With the county trending back into gold and orange colors, Stoeckle said the focus has strictly been on Preston and not anything beyond that.
“We have not discussed the possibility of going orange again,” stated Stoeckle. “We are just focused on Preston. Although it would be a disappointment to lose the Elkins game, who is one of our rivals. At this point, we will know at 5 p.m. on Saturday what the next week will bring. So, we’ll cross that bridge on Saturday.”
The WVSSAC has stated that any team that hasn’t played a maximum of 10 games and not play-off bound may add a game until Nov. 28.