BUCKHANNON—After a nerve-racking first half of action, the Taylor County Middle School (TCMS) Knights cruised to victory over Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School (BUMS), advancing to a perfect 6-0 on the season.
The contest started with a four and out by the Bucs, giving possession to TCMS at their own 36-yard line.
After a six-yard carry by Troy Weber, the BUMS made a defensive stop in the backfield, and brought up a fourth down situation for the Knights.
On the next play, TCMS’s Kaden Keener muscled through the defense and earned the clutch first down for Taylor County.
After a couple of short gains, Jaxson Hall managed to break away from his defender and busted through the endzone for a TCMS TD.
The Knights suffered a penalty call on the extra point attempt, pushing them back 5-yards and the conversion fell short, bringing the score to 6-0 Knights, with just 23.2 seconds left in the first.
The Bucs presented the Knights with a tough offensive game. Over BUMS’s next series, the team powered through TCMS’s defensive line earning multiple first downs and answering Hall’s TD with one of their own, tying the score at 6-6 with 3:39 remaining in the first half.
On the kick, Troy Weber received for Taylor County but was quickly met by a Bucs defender and was brought down before making a run. This possession would be an empty one for the Knights, and for just the second time this season, TCMS turned the ball over on downs.
With tension building as the Knights fought to hang on to their undrafted record, the TCMS defense amped up their efforts, making big stops, refusing to allow BUMS to take the lead before halftime.
With TCMS fans on the edge of their seats, the Knights made some slight adjustments during the break and came out of the locker room on fire.
The Knights received to start the second half of action and were quick to find the endzone with a 44-yard carry by Weber.
Weber would also cross the goal line for the two-point conversion attempt. The Knights took the 14-6 lead with 4:32 remaining in the third and never looked back.
The Bucs began their next drive at the 37 but were unable to make a gain, as Knight Brayden White made a sack in the backfield. However, a completed pass picked up the first down for the Bucs.
The Knights held strong and made a big stop on a Bucs fourth and two, to regain control of the ball.
At the start of the fourth, Keener broke free for a 46-yard TD run, bringing the crowd to their feet, as TCMS pulled further ahead. With another successful conversion by Weber, TCMS widened their lead to 22-6.
Trying to chip away at the deficit, the Bucs franticly worked to put together a successful offense set, but the Knights’ powerful defense shut down any hope of that, with pressure from the defense causing BUMS to commit several penalties.
The Bucs attempted to beat the TCMS defense with their air game, but that too was shut down by Keener, who deflected the pass and forced BUMS into a fourth down situation.
With 4:42 remaining in the game, the Knights took over on their own 23 and started the series with a ten-yard gain earned by a Weber carry.
Keener once again out hustled the defense and rushed up the field on a 66-yard carry for another TCMS TD.
The conversion fell short, but the Knights had sealed the game, when the Bucs fumbled the ball and White made the recovery, escaping with a 28-6 victory and moving to 6-0 on the season.
“This was a nice win for us. I am proud of these kids and also can’t say enough about my coaching staff,” expressed Head Coach Bobby Beltner. “The coaches made great halftime adjustments and the kids executed the game plan. That was a good football game, and I am proud to be their coach.”
The Knights will return home to McKinney field for their final two contests of the season taking on Lincoln on Wednesday, October 13, and R.L. Bland the following Wednesday. Both games will kick off at 7:00 p.m.
Individual game stats:
Kaden Keener: 11 carries, 145 yards, 2 TDs, 8 tackles, Troy Weber: 10 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD, 7 tackles, Jaxson Hall: 5 carries, 30 yards, 1 TD, 5 tackles, Cole Runner: 6 tackles, Brayden White: fumble recovery