By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
“Senior Night” can mean different things to different people but the atmosphere will typically cause athletes to find that extra gear to perform well.
For Ian Buffington, it translated into 214 yards rushing and five touchdowns to lead Upper Dauphin to a 53-22 win over East Juniata. Buffington went into the locker room with 155 yards and four touchdowns but was not finished finding his way into the end zone, adding a one-yard score early in the third quarter.
“It made me feel really good about my season,” said Buffington. “Especially tonight, last home game and to go out on a high note.”
From the opening Trojans (3-5, 3-4 TVL) possession, it was clear that Buffington was playing with a full head of steam and would not let any Tigers (1-7, 0-7 TVL) defenders drag him to the ground before he had gained significant yardage. A five-yard touchdown on the first drive would prove to be simply a warmup to the type of game Buffington would have.
“Ian is just a tough back,” said Trojans head coach Brent Bell. “A lot of plays, he got extra yardage after first contact. He did a great job tonight.”
Buffington added an eight-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Trojans a 13-7 lead after the Tigers tied the game on a touchdown catch by Marcus Klingler after David Brantley put the Tigers in the red zone with a 53-yard run.
In any breakout game, the main cog will have a large play to gain yardage and Buffington was no exception.
Showing shades of the Oregon quick-strike offense, Buffington bursted through a hole on a 42-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. Moments later, the Trojans held a 21-7 lead after a two-point conversion run by Austin A. Weaver.
A quick three-and-out by the Trojans defense put the ball back into the hands of the Trojans offense and into the end zone. From the Tigers 25, Buffington needed two plays to punch the ball in for the fourth time in the first half.
A 14-yard touchdown from the senior running back gave the Trojans a 27-7 lead.
After the Trojans recovered an onside kick to start the second half, the rushing attack kicked back into high gear with a quick scoring drive. Two plays later, Buffington had added another touchdown
Despite not being able to find the end zone on the ground, David Brantley made an impact using his speed in the receiving game to help the Tigers.
The versatile running back caught two passes but made the most of his opportunites with 77 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown.
“David did a great job,” said Tigers head coach Simon Cameron. “I think a lot of our guys did well. We just got out-handled.”