Strader leads Bucs to season opening win over Princeton

PRINCETON – Junior quarterback Ryan Strader scored three touchdowns and had a key interception to lead the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers to a 21-14 win over the homestanding Princeton Tigers in the 2018 debut for both teams.

Strader combined for 198 yards of total offense as he ran the ball 17 times for 137 yards while throwing for another 61.

“Ryan Strader had a big game for us,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle. “Last year as a sophomore he took his lumps, but you can see his experience and his leadership shine through now with a year under his belt.”

Princeton scored first as they took the opening drive of the game 65 yards in 10 plays that ate up four minutes of the clock.

Facing a fourth down and eight at the B-U 22, Ranson Graham lofted a ball into the left end zone corner that Ethan Parsons ran under for the score.

Nicholas Whittington’s point-after kick was good to treat the Tigers to a 7-0 lead.

The B-U offense sputtered along on its first three series as the Bucs failed to pick up a first down.

Buckhannon-Upshur was finally able to start moving the ball on their fourth series which resulted in a 63-yard scoring drive that took just five plays. The Bucs had three plays of 20 or more yards during the drive

Strader hit Brayden Cutlip for a 20-yard pass, Dash Davis found running room up the middle for a 20-yard scamper and Strader scored his first touchdown with a burst over the right side carrying a Princeton Tiger defender on his back into the end zone with 4:42 showing on a second-quarter clock.

Cameron Zuliani was good with her point-after kick as the Bucs tied the game at 7-7.

That would be the score at the intermission.

The Bucs took the second-half kick-off and marched 56 yards in six plays for their second score.

Strader took it right up the middle for a seven-yard scoring run with 9:06 left to play in the third quarter.

Zuliani’s kick was blocked but the Bucs held a 13-7 lead.

Princeton came right back with a 10-play drive that went 65 yards for a score.

The Tigers were aided on the drive by four B-U penalties including two 15-yard dead ball flags on the same play.

Devin Vest capped off the drive with a two-yard run up the middle.

Whittington was true on his kick as Princeton took a 14-13 lead with 5:29 left in the third quarter.

B-U’s offense went cold as they went three straight series without a first down.

They finally got it moving again with their go-ahead drive early in the final quarter.

Starting at their own 38, it took the Bucs just three plays to find paydirt.

Following an offsides call against Princeton, Davis carried it for eight yards, Jacob Loudin went for 12 and Strader cut over the left side and beat the Tiger defense to the end zone for the touchdown with 8:41 left in the game.

The Bucs went for two and were successful when Strader bulled his way into the end zone with an inside run.

The B-U defense came up big with a pair of turnovers on Princeton’s next two series.

Andrew Herron stripped away the ball from Princeton runner Cameron Shumate that Casey Hamner recovered, and then with  1:04 remaining, Strader picked off a Graham pass at his own 28 and returned it to midfield.

The Bucs had to punt the ball away on their final drive, but Princeton was only able to cross midfield on their final drive before time expired.

“We had an injury that forced Strader to play in the secondary,” stated Stoeckle. “We try to keep him on the offensive side, but during our flex time and our out-of-season practices, he has an interception almost every time we put him back there.”

The Bucs rolled up 303 yards of total offense gaining 242 on the ground and 61 through the air.

Following Strader on the ground was Davis with 66 yards on 14 carries while Loudin ran for 21 yards on three attempts.

Strader completed four of his 12 passes for 61 yards and no interceptions.

Brayden Cutlip caught two passes for 27 yards.

Princeton amassed 247 yards getting 214 through the air and just 43 on the ground.

Graham completed 25 of his 36 pass attempts for 214 yards but was picked off twice.

“Overall, I thought our conditioning played a bigger factor in this game,” said Stoeckle. “Our offensive line got better as the game went on after a slow start. Our defense was sort of a bend but don’t break. Princeton got some plays on us but we only surrendered the 14 points.”

Despite the win, the Bucs were guilty of 15 penalties for 135 yards.

“I am proud of the team overall but we made way too many mental mistakes,” concluded Stoeckle. “We needed to rise above the adversity and most of our guys did that but not all of them. So we are going to fix that and clean that up and get ready for Ripley next Friday.”

The Bucs will return to action at home this Friday as they host the Ripley Vikings.

Ripley lost their opener to Parkersburg South Friday night by a 27-7 score.

Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The boxscore:

Buckhannon-Upshur       0 7 6 8 – 21

Princeton                          7 0 7 0 – 14

Princeton – Ethan Parsons 22-yard reception from Ranson Graham (Nicholas Whittington kick)

Buckhannon-Upshur – Ryan Strader, 30-yard run (Cameron Zuliani kick)

Buckhannon-Upshur – Strader, 7-yard run (kick blocked)

Princeton – Devin Vest, 2-yard run (Whittington kick)

Buckhannon-Upshur – Strader, 37-yard run (Strader run)


First Downs – Buckhannon-Upshur: 13 (11 rushing, 2 passing, 0 penalty); Princeton: 15 (2 rushing, 8, passing, 5 penalty).

Total yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 303; Princeton: 247

Rushing yards – Buckhannon-Upshur 42-242; Princeton: 27-43

Passing yards – Buckhannon-Upshur 61; Princeton: 214

Passing – Buckhannon-Upshur 4-12-0; Princeton: 25-36-2

Penalties – Buckhannon-Upshur: 15-135; Princeton: 9-88

Punts – Buckhannon-Upshur: 6-30.6; Princeton: 4-33.8

Fumbles – Buckhannon-Upshur 3; Princeton: 3

Fumbles lost – Buckhannon-Upshur: 1; Princeton 2

All-return yards – Buckhannon-Upshur: 81; Princeton: 95

Time of Possession – Buckhannon-Upshur: 24:17; Princeton: 23:43



Buckhannon-Upshur — Ryan Strader 17-137 (3 touchdowns), Dash Davis 14-66, Jacob Loudin 3-21, Casey Hamner 4-18, Brayden Cutlip 1-5, Team 3-(-5). Totals 42-242 (3 touchdowns).

Princeton Devin West 13-9 (1 touchdown), Ranson Graham 7-18, Cameron Shumate 6-18, Tyler Smith 1- (-2). Totals 27-43 (1 touchdown).


Buckhannon-Upshur ­— Strader 4-for-12 for 61 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.

Princeton — Graham 25-for-36 for 214 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions.


Buckhannon-Upshur — Cutlip 2-27, Davis 1-24, Curtis Helton 1-10. Totals 4-61.

Princeton — Ethan Parsons 10-106 (1 touchdown), Chiron Cannady 7-67, Jacob Holston 2-18, West 2-7, Shumate 1-7, Arlion Jenkins 1-5, Justin Akers 1-2, Graham 1-1. Totals 25-214 (1 touchdown).


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