Bucktail (2-7) at Sayre (6-5)
SAYRE — The 2018 season started out right for Sayre with a 36-0 whitewashing of Bucktail.
The Redskins would like to repeat that performance tomorrow afternoon without following that with the three-game losing streak that followed last year’s opener.
Once Sayre’s new head coach and his team got acclimated to one another, the Redskins turned the tables and won five of their last seven games. That’s the streak Sayre’s players would like to take into the start of this season.
This time around, it’s Bucktail with a new coach and new scheme.
Sayre did what it wanted in last season’s opener. Isaiah Firestine carried 13 times for 84 yards to lead a 154-yard ground assault and quarterback Corbin Brown hit 15 of 22 passes for 292 yards. Gage Carnrike was the main target last season, hauling in five passes for 164 yards and two scores. He graduated in the spring, but Ethan Miller (4-86-1) and Zach Watkins (3-32-1) return. So do Firestine and Brown, with the latter being redirected to receiver.
Allowing that switch was the emergence of now sophomore quarterback Brayden Horton, who passed for 578 yards in six games. Miller and Watkins combined for 37 receptions, 579 yards and five TDs. Most of Sayre’s team returns with Carnrike and Nate Garrity being the main losses.
Expect a balanced attack for the Redskins, who can transition to being either run or pass heavy at will if warranted.
Bucktail is a mystery. The Bucks will be starting a new quarterback and has lost its top back in Tanner Riggle. Gage Sutliff, who was out for the Sayre game last season, returns and will be counted upon to pound out the yards. With the new coaching staff, Bucktail could still be working out its new offensive scheme. Liam Dwyer, who had 20 catches for 277 yards last season returns and should be a welcome sight for the new signal caller.
Moving Sayre’s defense should be a challenge. The Redskins allowed 240 yards per game over the last six weeks of the 2018 season and bring most of that talent back.
One potential trouble spot for the Bucks comes on defense. Bucktail returns just one defensive starter from last season and will be counting on last year’s subs to come to the fore.