TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur football Buccaneers will attempt to send 12 seniors out with a win as they host the Preston Knights tonight on “Senior Night” at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Playing their final game in the Blue and White will be Chris Burnside, Tyler Kuhn, Dom Rodrigue, Ryan Strader, Dakota Wagner, Trenton Westfall, Anthony Cannone, Brett Sears, Ryan Smith, Riley Lantz, Cameron Dunn and Euan Kittle.
The Bucs will also honor senior managers Dorthy Allen and Abby Weaver.
“You always want to send your seniors out with a win in their final home game,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle. “They have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into playing Buckhannon-Upshur football and they deserve a win. They have been a good group with six of them playing all four years. They have provided quality leadership to an overall young team. Across the country less and less kids are playing high school football. It is a very physical sport and many guys who could play choose not to because of the toughness of the sport. I commend our seniors for their physical and mental toughness.”
Earning a victory will be a tough chore for the Bucs after Preston is a high after upsetting the University Hawks last week by a 20-19 score eliminating the Hawks from play-off contention.
Following a 1-5 start to the season, the Knights (3-5) enter the game on a two-game winnings streak after being Washington and University, moving all the way up to 15th in the latest WVSSAC rankings this week.
“A lot of people will probably see Preston beating University as an upset, but we really weren’t surprised as a coaching staff,” explained Stoeckle. “We saw them at the 7vs7 and linemen challenge back in June at University. We knew then they were greatly improved. They had a few key injuries which slowed them down during the middle of their season. They are healthy again and If they win there last two games, they have a great chance of making the playoffs. Hopefully we won't let that happen.
Stoeckle said stopping senior wide out Colton Rosenberger will be a key for the B-U defense.
“We have got to stop Rosenberger,” remarked Stockle. “He had a long touchdown reception and a punt return for a touchdown against University. He was the difference maker for Preston in their win.”
The Knight’s defense is led by junior Ayden Bishoff at linebacker, junior Caleb Shrout on the line and Rosenberger in the secondary.
Stoeckle said for the Bucs to get the win tonight, they must want the game more than Preston does.
“We have to want to win more than Preston does,” Stoeckle stated. “Defensively, we have to contain Rosenberger and win the line of scrimmage. Offensively, our line must open holes for our running game and give Strader time to make his reads.”
Stoeckle is also hoping for a little divine intervention for his Bucs tonight.
“When I was driving home Wednesday, I saw the announcement board in front of Chapel Hill Church which said, ‘Knocked down seven times, get up eight.’ We are going to continue to get back up as a team.”