YORK TWP. — Conference titles never get old. It doesn’t matter if it’s the sixth in a row, 10th in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division or 20th as a program.
The Buckeye football team accomplished all that Friday in a 49-7 league win over Keystone that would have been much worse if not for a running clock in the second half.
“It’s real special, especially because they’re the main team that wanted us out of the PAC,” Bucks cornerback Anthony Watkins said. “We kind of took this one real personal. Winning doesn’t get old. You just keep doing what you have to do.”
What Buckeye (8-1, 4-0) did was clinch at least a share of its last PAC Stars title before heading off to Great Lakes Conference (and guarantee itself a spot in the Division III, Region 9 playoffs).
It was all anyone thought about prior to the game. It’s all anyone thought about during the game and it’s all anyone wanted to talk about after the game.
Well, that and taking home the conference outright next week with a win over Brookside (2-7, 1-3).
“Winning a championship, with all the emotions that go into it,
seems to get better every single time,” running back Dom Monaco said.
“The teams we play, they’re coming after us. They have Buckeye circled on their calendar. This is pretty much everyone’s banquet game. If they beat us, it’s all they’ll talk about at the end of the season. We just come out and play to our potential every game.”
The Bucks put together arguably their best all-around game. Despite scoring 49 points, it really started with defensive coordinator Luke Beal’s game plan to stop the Wildcats (4-5, 3-1).
Buckeye knew the offense revolved around quarterback Jacob Schackelford, so whenever the junior tucked the ball, 11 hats ran toward him.
Beal saw what Shackelford did to Cloverleaf, when he ran 10 times for 231 yards and a score in a 38-32 loss. He also saw Shackelford single-handedly bring Keystone back in a 46-42 win over Black River, when he ran for 262 yards and five scores.
Against the Bucks, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound signal caller ran nine times for 25 yards, was sacked once and was 11-for-19 passing for 102 yards and a touchdown that came with Buckeye up 42-0 and 8:04 remaining.
“We came in and just wanted to stop No. 2,” defensive end Logan Schulz said. “We wanted to take away the running game. That’s all we wanted to do. We wanted him to pass. We just played everything up.”
Defense actually led to the Bucks’ first four scores, as Keystone coach Don Griswold went for it on fourth down four straight times and was stopped every time.
The turnovers led to touchdown drives of 44, 39, 61 and 54 yards and gave Buckeye a 28-0 lead with 5:22 remaining before halftime.
“Those were real big,” Watkins said. “We’ve played teams that have good players like Columbia and (Brandon) Coleman, Cloverleaf had their quarterback (Brody Stallings). We had to take care of business with (Shackelford), so it was kind of big that we stopped him.”
The Bucks held the Wildcats to 246 yards (144 rushing), though 70 came on the fourth-quarter score.
Buckeye wasn’t without offensive stars, either, despite running only 41 plays.
Quarterback Jacob Doerge ran for 124 yards and a score. Armando Nigh had 102 yards, two scores and a handful of crushing blocks and Monaco rushed for 40 yards and three scores.
“You could probably say it’s our most complete game,” Nigh said. “We played well on both sides of the ball. You always want to improve as a team. We’ll look at the film (this morning) and figure out what we need to improve.”
Buckeye 49, Keystone 7
KEYSTONE 0 0 0 7 — 7
BUCKEYE 14 21 7 7 — 49
B — Armando Nigh 2 run (Clay Gunkelman kick), 5:17.
B — Dom Monaco 2 run (Gunkelman kick), 0:04.
B — Monaco 7 run (Gunkelman kick), 9:59.
B — Monaco 2 run (Gunkelman kick), 5:22.
B — Nigh 13 run (Gunkelman kick), 1:41.
B — Jacob Doerge 1 run (Gunkelman kick), 6:34.
K — Cory Hartle 20 pass from Jacob Shackelford (Zac Marsh kick), 8:04.
B — John Buckley 39 run (Gunkelman kick), 2:58.