August 26, 2015

The 2015 season kicks off Friday with Beavercreek traveling just a short distance down US 35 to take on the Xenia Buccaneers, in the “Backyard Battle.”  After several years of not playing each other, the rivalry renewed last year as the Bucs rolled into Beavercreek and buried the Beavers 50-7, setting the tone for a very disappointing 3-7 season at Beavercreek.

Xenia ended last season 6-4 and narrowly missed a playoff berth.  The Bucs return a number of starters this year, including 8 on defense and a starting QB that threw for over 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Gone are Bobo Jones (Bowling Green) and Khalil Capers (U of Findlay), two Xenia speedsters that gave the Beavers trouble last year — but the Bucs do return senior Rocky James who poses a threat anytime he has the ball in open space.  James scored twice against the Beavers last year, including a 77-yard touchdown pass early to give the Bucs a 14-7 lead.

The Beavers also return a number of starters, including the bulk of their offensive line.  Behind the line, the Beavers return their top two backs from a year ago, Stone Kincer and Tim Bradshaw.  Bradshaw rushed for nearly 800 yards a year ago, while missing several games due to injury.  Gone is QB Logan Turben, who led the Beavers rushing attack last year.  He will be replaced by senior Hunter Maloney.  On defense, the Beavers return a host of players who will be counted on to improve a defense that struggled last year, yielding over 35 points per game.  Beavercreek returns four of its top five tacklers from a year ago.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Last year, the Beavers were able to run the ball against Xenia, but four turnovers killed drives early and allowed Xenia to play with a short field too many times.  The Beavers live and die by the run, so it will be crucial to establish the run early and control the clock and pace of the game — the Beavers can’t afford to get down by multiple scores early.  Xenia likes to air it out and will test the Beavercreek secondary on every drive.  The Beavs have to avoid the big play and put some pressure on Xenia QB Danny Naylor and contain Rocky James on the outside.  Xenia opens a newly renovated field . . .  Beavercreek has a score to settle from last year . . .  Let the Backyard Battle begin!