TENNERTON – For a team that didn’t have a scrimmage and their first game canceled, the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School football Little Bucs looked in mid-season form Thursday night in their opener with the South Harrison Hawks.
The Little Bucs scored on the first play of the game and never looked back en route to a 34-0 victory.
“These are smart kids and are very coachable,” noted Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School head coach Dave Chipps. “They have a lot of football knowledge so we were able to do some things we normally couldn’t have done without a scrimmage. Plus we have had 26 days of practice.”
The Little Bucs took over the ball at midfield after the South Harrison kick-off went out of bounds.
On the first play from scrimmage, Caiden Bleigh took a hand-off and went over the right tackle and dashed 50 yard untouched for the score.
The conversion pass was no good, but the Little Bucs led 6-0 just 10 second into the game.
“That was Bleigh’s first carry in a football game ever,” stated Chipps. “He is going to be a good one for us in the backfield. We are blessed with a talented and deep backfield.”
The Little Bucs held South Harrison on downs at the B-UMS 36-yard line to start their next possession.
Twelve plays later, the Little Bucs were back in the end zone as Cooper Antolini it took over the right side for a six-yard scoring run with eight seconds left in the first quarter.
Ethan McCarty scored on the conversion run making it a 14-0 contest.
Daniel Hedrick stripped away the ball from South Harrison on the kick-off return and recovered it at the South Harrison 42 to set up the next Little Buc touchdown.
Six plays later, Wyatt Morris took it in from four yards out with 6:03 showing on the second-quarter clock.
McCarty ran in the conversion as the Little Bucs took a 22-0 lead.
A bad snap on a punt attempt by South Harrison gave the Little Bucs great field position to start their next drive, beginning at the South Harrison 24-yard line.
It took the Little Bucs just five plays to score as Bleigh found the end zone again on an eight-yard run with 2:01 left in the half.
The conversion run failed, but the Little Bucs owned a 28-0 advantage.
They took that lead into the half with them.
The only score of the second half belonged to McCarty, who scampered in from 11 yards out with 1:44 remaining in the third quarter.
The conversion pass was no good, but the Little Bucs extended their lead to 34-0.
The Little Buc defense did the rest as they kept South Harrison off the scoreboard for the shutout win.
The Little Bucs racked up 256 yards of offense while limiting South Harrison to just 21 yards.
Bleigh led the ground game with 96 yards on eight attempts while Morris had 47 yards on seven totes.
McCarty completed his one pass attempt, a 24-yard strike to Morris.
“This was a great first test,” remarked Chipps. “We had some first-game jitters but overall I was very pleased with how we played. We still have things to fix but I thought it was a good first game.”
The Little Bucs are now 2-0 on the season as last week’s cancelation by Mountaineer Middle went down as a forfeit win.
They will return to action Thursday as they host Robert L. Bland at 6:30 p.m.
South Harrison 0 0 0 0 – 0
Buckhannon-Upshur 14 14 6 0 – 34
Buckhannon-Upshur – Caiden Bleigh, 50-yard run (pass failed)
Buckhannon-Upshur – Cooper Antolini, 6-yard run (Ethan McCarty run)
Buckhannon-Upshur – Wyatt Morris, 4-yard run (McCarty run)
Buckhannon-Upshur – Bleigh, 8-yard run (run failed)
Buckhannon-Upshur – McCarty, 11-yard run (pass failed)
First downs – South Harrison: 3 (2 rushing, 0 passing, 1 penalty); Buckhannon-Upshur: 14 (12 rushing, 1 passing, 1 penalty).
Rushing yards – South Harrison: 28-21; Buckhannon-Upshur: 35-232.
Passing yards – South Harrison: 0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 24.
Total yards – South Harrison: 21; Buckhannon-Upshur: 256.
Passes – South Harrison: 0-0-0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 1-1-0.
Penalties – South Harrison: 3-25; Buckhannon-Upshur: 4-35.
Punts – South Harrison: 0-0.0; Buckhannon-Upshur: 0-0.0.
Fumbles – South Harrison 3; Buckhannon-Upshur: 2.
Fumbles lost – South Harrison: 1; Buckhannon-Upshur: 1.
All-return yards – South Harrison: 59; Buckhannon-Upshur: 0.
South Harrison – Corey Saltis 10-36; Gavin Clark 6-19; No. 24 4-0; Brayden Skidmore 4-(-1); Xavier Jenkins 3-(-7); team 1-(-20). Totals 28-21.
Buckhannon-Upshur – Caiden Bleigh 8-96 (2 touchdowns); Wyatt Morris 7-47 (1 touchdown); Ethan McCarty 7-27 (1 touchdown); Brody Jeran 4-27; Daniel Hedrick 4-26; Cooper Antolini 2-11 (1 touchdown); Dawson Tenney 1-0; team 2-(-2). Totals 35-232 (4 touchdowns).
South Harrison – None
Buckhannon-Upshur – McCarty 1-1 for 24 yard, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
South Harrison – None
Buckhannon-Upshur – Morris 1-24.