On paper, this week’s game looks like a slam dunk for Fairmont Senior.
The Polar Bears (5-2, 4-1 Big 10) are coming off a decisive 52-6 rout of Braxton. Meanwhile, Buckhannon-Upshur (2-6) enters the game as losers of four straight.
While the records suggest that Fairmont Senior will run away with another blowout victory, these same facts are what worry Polar Bears coach J.L. Abbott the most when his Bears host the Bucs at 7:30 p.m. at East-West Stadium.
“When you don’t have anything to lose, you can let it all hang out,” he said.
The key to avoiding an upset, Abbott said, is going to be stopping the run. Bucs running back Seth Cutright leads the team with over 600 total yards of offense to go along with eight touchdowns.
He’ll do most of his running behind 6-foot-2, 220-pound fullback Phillip Petrulak.
“They’ve got some dogs,” Abbott affectionately said of the two players. “We’ve just got to show up and play.”
Those dogs also have a trick or two up their sleeves. The Bucs’ playbook includes a hook-and-lateral, reverses and reverse passes.
“We’ve got to just do our assignments and stay home,” Abbott said.
The Polar Bears will celebrate senior night at the game where they will honor 16 players. Abbott said it would mean something special to send them off with a win, but he’s reminded his team it won’t come easily. These “dogs” won’t roll over.
“Buckhannon doesn’t show it in the win column, but they’re battle-tested. They’re going to come in and give us a game,” he said. “We’ve got a big group of seniors we’d like to send out with a win”
North Marion’s football season hasn’t exactly turned out the way the team hoped. But that doesn’t mean the Huskies are backing down.
“This isn't the season we planed on having,” said Huskies’ wide receiver Chase Banker. “We’ve always been doubted. But to come away with the last two wins would be great.”
To accomplish that goal, the Huskies (1-7, 1-6 Big 10) will have to their work cut out for them when they host Lincoln (5-2, 3-1 Big 10) at Husky Field.
The Cougars boast one of the most potent offenses in the conference. It features the conference’s top passer, second-leading rusher, third-leading receiver and fifth-leading receiver.
Quarterback Jarrod Kellar is the catalyst of the offense, throwing for more than 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Banker said making the junior signal-caller uncomfortable will be crucial if the Huskies are going to keep the Cougars in check.
“We’ve got to keep some pressure on the quarterback,” he said. “He’s got a cannon.”
As for shutting down the receivers, Banker will take on that responsibility. He said he will shadow Dillon O’Dell, who has 36 catches for 880 yards this year.
“I’m going to lock down on (O’Dell),” he said. “Hopefully we can keep them in check.”