TENNERTON - University's offense overcame a sluggish first half to pull a way from Buckhannon-Upshur 30-7 Friday night at Freal "Red" Crites Memorial Stadium.
The Bucs wasted no time taking an early 7-0 lead in the contest, marching the opening kickoff 80 yards in 11 plays. Seth Cutright capped the drive with an 8-yard run.
After forcing two straight punts by the Hawks, B-U again put together an impressive drive. But a fumble at the UHS 21-yard line ended the march.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Ferguson
Buckhannon-Upshur’s Seth Cutright dives toward the end zone for a touchdown Friday night in the Buccaneers’ 30-7 loss in Tennerton.
The Hawks finally came to life on the offensive end late in the first half when Travis Renner connected with Deion Cunningham over the middle, and the senior receiver sprinted past the Buc defense, which had limited University to just 41 total yards to that juncture.
William Kinney added the PAT kick to tie the game with 1:32 left in the half.
"We played well on defense most of the night," said B-U coach Bill Struble. "But we got caught in a blitz and they converted on the touchdown pass. (Cunningham) is an outstanding athlete with good size and Austin (Snyder) did a great job of covering him. That play really gave them some momentum."
University coach John Kelley said his team was "lucky" to tie the game before halftime.
"I commend coach Struble and his coaching staff for the defensive game plan they had for us," said Kelley, whose team improved to 2-0. "They gave us a lot of fits on offense in the first half and we were a frustrated group."
The Hawks took the second-half kickoff 70 yards in 11 plays to take the lead for good. A 23-yard connection from Renner to Chance Michael on a third-and-11 play kept the drive alive and moved the ball to the B-U 35-yard line.
Three straight runs from Renner moved the ball to the 16, and backup quarterback Jeremy Eckels capped off the march with a 5-yard run, followed by an 11-yard scamper into the end zone. The PAT kick failed, leaving the score 13-7 with 6:06 left in the third.
B-U, meanwhile, was unable to get its offense going. The Bucs ran a total of four plays in the third quarter compared to 11 by the visitors.
"Our defense played well," Kelley said. "We needed them to step up with the offense struggling and they got the job done."
The Hawks put the game out of reach with 17 points over the final 5:20 of the fourth quarter.
Backup running back Jace Neville capped off an 11-play, 71-yard drive with an 18-yard run. Renner ran in the conversion to stretch the lead to 21-7.
After the Bucs fumbled the ensuing kickoff on their own 12-yard line, Renner went in from 3 yards out to make it 27-7 after the missed conversion kick.
Kinney finished the scoring with a 42-yard field goal with :32 left.
University held a 329-185 advantage in total yardage. Renner rushed for 92 yards on 18 totes for the Hawks, while completing 4-of-11 passes for 103 yards.
Seth Cutright had an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and finished with 110 yards on the ground on 23 attempts for the Bucs, who drop to 1-1.
Sophomore quarterback Dillion Gaudet, making his first career start, completed 7-of-8 passes for 72 yards.
"I was very proud of how our kids played," Struble said.
"We just need to be more consistent on offense for four quarters."
B-U travels to rival Elkins next Friday for the annual Corridor Clash.
UHS - 0 7 6 17 - 30
B-U - 7 0 0 0 - 7
B-U - Seth Cutright 8 run (Austin Snyder kick), 7:52
UHS - Deion Cunningham 64 pass from Travis Renner (William Kinney kick), 1:32
UHS - Jeremy Eckels 11 run (kick failed), 6:06
UHS - Jace Neville 18 run (Renner run), 5:20
UHS - Renner 3 run (Kinney kick), 4:43
UHS - Kinney 42 field goal. :32
RUSHING: UHS, Renner 18-92, Chance Michael 10-51, Neville 5-60, Tyler Picktel 3-27, Jack Armstrong 3-(minus 3), Michael Ramsey 1-(minus 1). B-U, Cutright 23-110, Phillip Petrulak 6-17, Dillion Gaudet 2-(minus-14).
PASSING: UHS, Renner 4-11-103-0, Eckels 0-1-0-0. B-U, Gaudet, 7-8-72-0, Pat Crim 0-8-0-0.
RECEIVING: Cunningham 1-64, Michael 1-23, Tony Richardson 1-9, Jack Armstrong 1-7. B-U, Snyder 2-26, Aaron Anderson 2-21, Petrulak 2-9, Cutright 1-16,