Old rivals meet as Bucs and Colts seek first victory of 2020 season

The Buckhannon-Upshur defense, Alex Bennett (66), Logan Kelley (72) and Ryan Kelley (79) slow down Ripley tailback Kadin Hall last week in their opener. The Bucs will meet Philip Barbour Friday night at 7 p.m. at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.

TENNERTON – With Upshur County moving into yellow on the COVID-19 map, Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle was simply hopeful that his Buccaneers will be able to get their football game in Friday night with the Philip Barbour Colts.

Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Freal “Red” Crites Stadium.

“In this situation, you never know when your season may end,” said Stoeckle. “To think that whether you play or not is based at looking at map each day. It’s just crazy.”

Stoeckle said after their opening game with Ripley last Friday night, that his team didn’t play as poorly as the scoreboard indicated in a 42-0 setback.

“It really was a play or two here, or a wrong step there,” noted Stoeckle. “It wasn’t anything major, but just some things that we need to work on. We saw, especially on defense, they were in position but they didn’t break down and make the tackle or tried to arm tackle. The score doesn’t indicate what that game really was.”

Stoeckle said the Bucs have shaken off the Ripley game and had a good week of practice.

“We have been dealing with the heat a little bit this week, but we have to work through that and get tougher mentally,” remarked Stoeckle. “The game is really won or lost Monday through Thursday. Overall, I felt we had a good week of practice.”

Both teams will enter the game 0-1 after getting shutout in their week one encounters as the Colts dropped a 54-0 decision to Clay County last Friday.

Stoeckle said he sees this game as a must-win for both teams.

“You want to get that win,” commented Stoeckle. “With COVID-19, we really don’t know how many games we will get in. Anytime you have a chance to get a win you want to do it. I think both teams are looking at it as a must-win situation.”

Stoeckle said after looking at the game film on Philip Barbour, they are big on both lines and will give his Bucs a lot of different looks on offense.

“They will be bigger than us on both the offensive and defensive lines,” noted Stoeckle. “They have a couple of nice skill guys. Tyler Hollen and Deshawn Webster run hard out of the backfield for them. They showed Clay a lot of different formations so there will be a lot of things for our defense to be ready for.”

Stopping the Colt rushing attack is the key for the Bucs this week according to Stoeckle.

“They have a pretty good power running game,” remarked Stoeckle. “We have to do a better job stopping the run than we did last week. Then we have to develop our own running game and get in the end zone. You aren’t going to win many games putting up a zero on the scoreboard.”

Stoeckle said it was some little things that prevented the Bucs from getting their ground game going against Ripley.

“A lot of times it was the backs not seeing the hole when it was there,” stated Stoeckle. “We would run right up the back of a lineman instead of cutting left or right, and then sometimes there wasn’t a hole. We just have to put it all together.”

Following their game this Friday with Philip Barbour, the Bucs will travel to Hampshire next week for a 7 p.m. road outing with the Trojans.


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