After posting a dominant 56-0 shutout win last week over the Wyoming East Warriors, the Greenbrier East Spartans look to build on that momentum this Friday, September 25, when they travel to Upshur County to take on the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers (B-U) at 7:30 p.m.
The Bucs have struggled so far in this young 2020 campaign. They are 1-2, with their lone win over Philip Barbour by a score of 19-10. Their two losses are to Ripley in their season opener 42-0 and last week to Hampshire 58-6. Put those numbers together and B-U is scoring just 8.3 points per game and allowing their opponents to put up 36.7 per contest.
The matchup, at least on paper, looks good for the Spartans (2-1) chances to bring home their third win of the year.
The Bucs are quarterbacked by Ian Donnen. Donnen hasn’t really had any big plays this season and has posted some pedestrian-type numbers for a signal caller so far. That does not mean, however, that he cannot throw the football as he is more than capable, but if the Spartan defense, which had four sacks last week, gets after Donnen with the same intensity, the young quarterback will make mistakes.
B-U’s most dynamic playmaker to this point is sophomore Jayden Owens. Owens is a quick scat back type player that is used in a variety of ways. Two weeks ago in the win over Philip Barbour, he took a reverse handoff and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass, and in the loss last week he was the only Bucs player to score when he took a wildcat snap and ran it in from six yards away. Much like last week with Warriors running back Caleb Bower, shutting down Owens will be priority number one for the Spartan defense.
Garrett Bennett, Jacob Wickline, JT Spencer and Lucas McCallister have all stepped up their play recently for the East defense which is allowing just 18 points per game. They have to be licking their chops to face a Buccaneer offense that mustered up just 137 total yards last week. With the former three holding down the defensive line and the latter picking off what seems to be every pass that is thrown, the Spartans defense should put together another gem this Friday for coordinator Aaron Baker.
The East offense will be well rested after playing just a half of football against Wyoming East. For the season, they are averaging 39.3 points per game although a couple defensive scores also factor into that number.
The Spartans are led in rushing by Quentin Wilson who has put up 284 yards on 32 carries thus far. Colby Piner (243 yards, two TD’s) and quarterback Monquelle Davis (174 rush yards, three TD’s) will also get plenty of action from the backfield.
Davis has also thrown for 297 yards and four touchdowns, and his favorite targets are Piner (seven receptions, 171 yards, two TD’s) and Christian MccNeely (six catches, 47 yards). Nate Baker also has a receiving touchdown, but has also taken more unconventional snaps from the QB position the last couple weeks to add a different dynamic to the Spartans offense.
The kicking game is now in good shape after a rough week one with Braden Bragg punting and Noah Dotson knocking through extra points consistently. Dotson is 10-of-13 on the season in that department.
Typically, predictions are not made here, but with the Spartans momentum carrying them forward and the Bucs suffering a 52-point loss to a previously winless team, East should take care of business similar to last week.