BUFFALO — Hoping to ride the late-season momentum from last fall’s outing, the Buffalo football team fell short in that quest Friday, dropping its season opener 27-0 to Greenbrier West in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Buffalo Stadium.
The Cavaliers came into the game trying to improve on their 2-8 campaign of last season, having brought back coach Toby Harris to a job he first took in 1968.
Led by junior running back Noah Brown’s 124 yards on 16 carries and a strong offensive line push led by senior Issac Brown, West managed to pound it out on the Bison defensive front.
“We came out in different formations and were able to control the ball. Our guys stepped up and did a good job,” said Harris. “Their linebackers did a really good job but, hey, it’s good to get a win.”
The Cavaliers’ opening drive stalled at midfield, however. A 47-yard punt to the Buffalo 1-yard line made it difficult for the Bison to recover. After a three and out, West would begin its ensuing drive on the Buffalo 33. Eventually, junior quarterback Kaiden Pack punched in his first of two first-half touchdowns.
The Bison drove the length of the field twice in the first half, only to turn it over on downs on one drive and end another with a Jackson England interception at the West 20.
“We are a lot better than we were last year. We’re playing hard,” said Bison coach Brian Batman. “We are at a disadvantage numbers-wise but we’ll be OK.”
The second half saw West continue to play field position with Kyle Holliday converting a 30-yard field goal and Brown adding a 22-yard scamper and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final quarter.
For the Cavaliers, Levi Weikle would add another 26 yards rushing on seven carries, while Pack completed the only pass of the game for 27 yards.
The Bison were led by Alex Tempus’ 59 yards on 17 carries. England added 35 yards on the ground on 12 carries.