SULLIVAN TWP. â€” The hammer and the nail donâ€™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.
â€œThatâ€™s something we said ever since we have been in conference play,â€ Buckeye coach Billy Burke said. â€œWe said that we are playing for a conference championship.
â€œEven when it was Game 1 or Game 2 in the conference. We are still playing for a conference championship.â€
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 â€” as usual â€” was junior running back Cory Reisner with 229 total yards and three touchdowns.
â€œThe guys up front were getting a huge push,â€ Reisner said. â€œAnd that really opened some things up for us.â€
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.
â€œYou have to make sure you have your players making plays,â€ Burke said. â€œWe 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.
â€œA player stepped up and made a play.â€
It was the second of three interceptions the Bucks made on the night â€”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.
â€œWe called a seam route up the middle and (Horton) put it right in between the safeties,â€ Read said. â€œI 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.â€
With the Bucksâ€™ signature play â€” the jet sweep â€” being held in check most of the night, they went to the air and had big success early.
â€œWe thought that maybe we could,â€ Burke said. â€œThey made some adjustments to take away our jet sweep, which has been real successful for us. We had to have something else to do.â€
Jesse Horton led the Buckeye aerial attack with 148 yards on 10-of-16 passing.
â€œWe knew what we were going to get from Black River,â€ he said. â€œAnd we knew we could throw on them. They were going to try and stuff our run â€” our bread and butter. So we knew we had to come out an throw the ball around a little bit.â€
Horton also threw for a pair of touchdowns â€” both in the first quarter â€” 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 Piratesâ€™ second touchdown.
â€œHe plays hard,â€ Black River coach Al Young said of Freeman. â€œHe always does. I appreciate that. Weâ€™ll keep doing that and hopefully weâ€™ll break through in these next two games.â€