Not much went right for the Buckeye Valley football team on Friday night as the Barons were unable to overcome a heap of self-inflicted wounds en route to a 20-6 defeat at the hands of visiting Bishop Ready.
The two teams traded stops throughout the first quarter as neither was able to sustain much on offense. Ready was finally able to break through early in the second quarter following a crucial stop from the defense on a fourth-down conversion attempt by Buckeye Valley.
Set up with great field position at midfield following the stop, Silver Knights quarterback Darius Parham took a draw play 26 yards on the second play of the series before finally being run out of bounds at the Barons’ 25-yard line.
Facing a fourth down and looking to keep the drive alive, Parham would again come through, finding P.J. Daniels for 11 yards and a goal-to-go situatioin for the Silver Knights at the Barons’ 9-yard line. Four plays later, the Silver Knights faced yet another fourth down, this time from the Barons’ 1-yard line. Once more, Ready head coach Joel Cutler elected to keep the offense on the field, and he again turned to his playmaking quarterback. Parham faked the handoff and rolled right, finding a wide-open Cole Matthews in the end zone for a touchdown and the first-half lead.
Running back Brian Fitzsimmons carried in the two-point conversion attempt, giving Ready the 8-0 lead with 10:25 remaining in the first half.
Buckeye Valley had no answer on the following drive, going three and out and sending the punt team out onto the field. The Barons wound up faking the punt attempt, however, but Jake Smothers was stuffed short of the marker as Ready took over on downs.
Set up again with prime field position, Ready tacked on a field goal as Evan O’Connell’s 28-yard field goal attempt was drilled right down the middle, increasing the Silver Knight’s lead to 11-0 with 6:19 remaining in the first half.
The mistakes would continue to pile up on the ensuing drive as Buckeye Valley was forced to send on the punt team following a three and out by the offense. With punter Andre Ash awaiting the snap, the ball sailed over his head and into the end zone. Ash was able to recover the ball, but was brought down in the end zone for a safety, increasing Ready’s lead to 13-0 just before halftime.
In a hole and in desperate need of sustained drives, the Buckeye Valley offense had no answers for the Ready defense in the second half, either. Facing a third down on the opening drive of the third quarter, Barons quarterback Anthony Hughes’ pass deflected off the hands of receiver Alex Contreras and into the waiting hands of Ready cornerback J’Sun Gardner, who returned the interception to the Barons’ 42-yard line.
Ready wasted no time in moving the ball into the red zone on the back of receiver Tyrese Hudson, whose three carries on the drive got the Silver Knights within seven yards of taking a 20-0 lead. The Barons defense would come up big, however, providing a momentary glimmer of hope by forcing a Hudson fumble that was recovered by Mitchell Melfe.
Perhaps with new life and the window for a comeback still open, it took just five plays on the ensuing drive for that window to be all but slammed shut. Gardner again picked off Hughes on a deflected pass, returning the interception to the Barons’ 20-yard line and setting the Silver Knights offense up for a knockout blow.
Two plays later, it was Hudson atoning for the fumble on the previous drive, busting into the end zone from four yards out to give the Silver Knights an insurmountable 20-0 lead with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter.
Hughes was intercepted once more, his third of the game, on the following drive as Ready was then able to salt away the final quarter to secure the win.
Buckeye Valley would get on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter when Hughes found Contreras for a 26-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 20-6.
Following the game, Buckeye Valley head coach Matt Stephens said, simply, “That’s not the team I had last week.”
“We weren’t good up front,” Stephens said. “Offensively, we committed some turnovers. Defensively, we were on the field too long.”
Stephens said he was happy to see his team continue to battle despite the lack of success, and he added that getting the offense going boils down to better execution, something that will be a heavy focus in the coming week of practice.
“There’s no quit in these guys, so we’ll get back on the ‘W’ side next week,” he said.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.