TENNERTON – The Zach Davis era is set to officially get underway Friday night when the first-year Buckhannon-Upshur head football coach prepares his team to face the Bridgeport Indians at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium.
Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
Davis said his Bucs are looking forward to putting the preseason behind them and starting their 2021 season.
“We are certainly ready to get the season started,” said Davis. “We are ready to play. They are excited to play someone else. They have been hitting on each other for a while now. I feel we have peaked as far as the preseason goes. We certainly want to get better as the year goes on but I think we are as good as we can be right now.”
The Bucs had scrimmages against North Marion and Lincoln two weeks ago at the North Marion Grid-O-Rama, but saw their scrimmage with Richwood last week canceled.
Despite losing the scrimmage Davis said it may have turned out to help his team in the long run as they substituted an intra-squad scrimmage in place of the Richwood scrimmage.
“When I called the Richwood coach about playing the scrimmage on another day, they only had about 18 players,” noted Davis. “So it actually worked out better for us to have the intrasquad scrimmage. We were able to get more reps for our guys.”
Bridgeport will enter the game ranked fifth in the West Virginia Metro News Power Rankings giving the Bucs one of the more difficult openers in week one.
“We are approaching the Bridgeport game the same way we will approach every game,” stated Davis. “We will play to a standard and win the day. We will be the best we can and the chips will fall where they may with wins and losses, it’s just the way it works. The process will remains the same for us, we will prepare for Bridgeport like we will anyone else.”
Not only will this be the first game for Davis at Buckhannon-Upshur but it will be the first game for first-year head coach Tyler Phares at Bridgeport who was hired in February.
“Coach Phares has done a great job there so far,” noted Davis. “Bridgeport is a tough, physical team on offense that likes to get off the ball. On defense, they get off blocks and make tackles.”
Leading Bridgeport will be All-State First Teamer senior Cam Cole who will get the nod as the starting T-Back. Cole rushed for 1,334 yards last season.
Quarterbacking the Tribe this season will be junior Anthony Spatafore.
For the Bucs, Davis is expected to go offensively with junior Ian Donnen at quarterback, senior Zach Mayle at U-back, senior Camden Snyder at tailback, senior Wilbur Snider at fullback, senior Sterlin Thropp at wide receiver, senior Landon McLean at tight end, with the line having freshman Bear Metheny at left tackle, junior Joel Hershman at left guard, junior Dylan Hoover at center, sophomore Ryan Kelley at right guard and junior Dalton Crites at right tackle.
The Bucs will have starting in the 3-4 defense, senior Logan Kelley at left defensive end, Hershman at nose guard, junior Gavin Brown at right end, McLean at left outside linebacker, junior Elijah Bryant at left inside linebacker, sophomore Luke Yardley at right inside linebacker, junior Kaden Jordan at right outside linebacker, sophomore Liam Garcia at left corner, Thropp at left safety, senior Tyson Pugh at right safety and Mayle at right corner.
Donnen will handle the punting duties while senior Cameron Zuliani will take care of kickoffs, extra points and field goals.
Davis is happy to have the opener be at home at Freal “Red” Crites Stadium.
“Everything we have done has been on the road,” stated Davis. “This summer, our 7v7 was away, our co-practices have been on the road, the scrimmage was at North Marion, so it’s nice to have someone come to us to play. I hope the community comes out and supports the team. This is a big game for us. We want to play well for everyone involved.”
Following their opener this Friday, the Bucs will head to Ripley to face the Vikings in week two.