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Tucker carrying heavy load for Buffalo

By | Gazette-Mail High School Huddle
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Chip Ellis
Buffalo's Jordan Tucker returns a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown against Greenbrier West.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the season began, Jordan Tucker was supposed to be one of Buffalo's offensive weapons. But many nights, he's been the only one.

The junior running back has been forced to carry the load for the winless Bison (0-5), which has been beset by more than its fair share of injuries.

Through five games, Tucker has run for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns, ranking him among the statewide leaders in Class A. He's also tallied three more TDs on return plays and two more on receptions for a total of 15 and, with three conversions, 96 overall points.

"It's all been on his shoulders, no doubt,'' said Buffalo coach Mike Sawyer. "I knew he could do it. He's the fastest kid I've ever coached. He worked hard in the offseason. He always does what you ask and never complains. He works hard in the weight room.''

Tucker has turned in a pair of monster games so far for the Bison, carrying 34 times for 323 yards and four TDs against Class AA Poca and running 30 times for 293 yards and five scores in a 61-46 loss last week at Gilmer County.

It wasn't supposed to be that way for Tucker or the youthful Bison. But when the injuries started to claim most of the few experienced players on the roster, well, Tucker had to tuck it and run.

  • Senior Laythen Good, last year's leading rusher and receiver for Buffalo, tore up his knee in June drills and was lost for the season.
  • Austin Hensley, a junior transfer and the new starting quarterback, suffered a shoulder injury on the opening kickoff of the first game and sat out four games. He's still only being allowed to kick and punt.
  • Senior Gabe Garrison, expected to be the team's top receiver this year, has barely played because of knee and concussion issues and may not return. The other top receiver, senior Isaiah Robinson, also missed one game with an injury.
  • Sophomore backup running back Caleb Tucker has missed 21/2 games with a concussion, but might be back this week.
  • In Friday's game, the team's best lineman, junior Tony Mundell, injured a knee and could miss the rest of the season. Also, the starting fullback, freshman Jacob Hanshaw, left the game with a concussion. His status is unknown.
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