June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Buckeye tops Pirates for fourth year in row

SULLIVAN TWP. — The hammer and the nail don’t have a rivalry, and lately neither do the Buckeye and Black River football teams.

The Bucks dropped the Pirates 28-14 on Friday for the fourth straight time and stayed in the hunt for the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division crown.

“That’s something we said ever since we have been in conference play,” Buckeye coach Billy Burke said. “We said that we are playing for a conference championship.

“Even when it was Game 1 or Game 2 in the conference. We are still playing for a conference championship.”

The win moved Buckeye (4-4, 4-1) into a tie for the PAC Stars Division crown after Wellington fell 17-13 to Keystone.

The Bucks achieved a rarity in high school football with a balanced attack that was spearheaded by a trio of stars.

Leading the way — as usual — was junior running back Cory Reisner with 229 total yards and three touchdowns.

“The guys up front were getting a huge push,” Reisner said. “And that really opened some things up for us.”

The junior carried the ball 30 times for 194 yards and hauled in three passes for 35 more.

He also made a huge play on defense when he thwarted a Black River (3-5, 3-2) drive late in the second quarter with his first interception of the season.

Reisner picked off the pass with the Pirates, driving in for the potential game-tying score.

“You have to make sure you have your players making plays,” Burke said. “We need to get Cory breaks because he runs so much offense, and at the same time when it comes gut-check time we probably need Cory in the game.

“A player stepped up and made a play.”

It was the second of three interceptions the Bucks made on the night —Darrin Read grabbed the other two.

Read also joined in on the offensive fun with two cathes for 27 yards and his first career TD.

“We called a seam route up the middle and (Horton) put it right in between the safeties,” Read said. “I made the catch, and last week I was 1 yard short of a touchdown and everybody was telling me that I would get my first one this week.”

With the Bucks’ signature play — the jet sweep — being held in check most of the night, they went to the air and had big success early.

“We thought that maybe we could,” Burke said. “They made some adjustments to take away our jet sweep, which has been real successful for us. We had to have something else to do.”

Jesse Horton led the Buckeye aerial attack with 148 yards on 10-of-16 passing.

“We knew what we were going to get from Black River,” he said. “And we knew we could throw on them. They were going to try and stuff our run — our bread and butter. So we knew we had to come out an throw the ball around a little bit.”

Horton also threw for a pair of touchdowns — both in the first quarter — as the senior completed nine of his first 10 throws.

Black River got a big night from Brandon Freeman, who had 167 total yards and the Pirates’ second touchdown.

“He plays hard,” Black River coach Al Young said of Freeman. “He always does. I appreciate that. We’ll keep doing that and hopefully we’ll break through in these next two games.”