Old rivalry will be renewed
PBHS visits B-U in key matchup for both teams
PHILIPPI — Double-A Philip Barbour (0-2) will be on the road in Upshur County today to take on a 1-1 Class AAA Buckhannon-Upshur team as the two Big 10 Conference squads resume a series that has been won more by the Bucs than the Colts over the years.
Buckhannon is looking to knock on the door and get back into the playoff race again this year, while Philip Barbour is coming off a banner playoff season from a year ago, though still struggling to find its first win in 2018.
Both have had their highs and lows during the series.
In the fall of 1990 at George Byrer Field, Philip Barbour upset the Class AAA, No. 1-ranked Bucs, 28-8.
“We knew what we were getting into when we added them to our schedule again, we wanted to toughen our schedule up,” PBHS coach Russ Collett said. “Buckhannon and Philip Barbour have played each other for decades, so we felt it was important to get that started back again.
“We’re a little concerned with their size, and they have some speed, too,” he said. “Their quarterback (B-U junior Ryan Strader) can stand in there and throw, and he’s illusive, too.”
Strader is the lone touchdown scorer for the Bucs to date, after guiding B-U to a 21-14 opening-night win on the road at Princeton.
In last week’s 27-12 home setback against Ripley, Strader scored twice in the second half to help B-U threaten the Vikings.
The Colts climbed back into a rivalry game last week at Wimer Field in Elkins before the Tigers clamped back down with a 40-22 victory.
Freshman Jesiah Matlick emerged as the starter at quarterback last week against Elkins to allow Damien Gonzales to become even more of a threat in the offensive scheme. Gonzales also plays defense and on special teams.
Chase Collier is another weapon for the Colts at running back.
Another concern for Collett is the size advantage the Bucs have along the fronts.
“Their linemen and linebackers have some guys that are much larger than we are,” said Collett. “We’re going to try and do what we can with our speed. They’re going to come right at us I’m sure.”
On the Bucs’ side of the ball, veteran coach Duane Stoeckle said the line of scrimmage and turnovers will be key elements in today’s contest.
“Ideally, we hope the offensive line can help us move the ball,” Stoeckle said. ” We also need to avoid the turnovers and finish (our) drives.
“Defensively, we hope our line can control the line of scrimmage and put the pressure on to keep their capable skill guys off the scoreboard.”
Kickoff at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium is slated for 7 p.m. today.