All that has left Jordan Tucker holding the bag when it comes to offensive touches. He's carried 93 times, caught seven passes and is 2 of 2 for 43 yards on option throws.
"We were looking forward to using him and Laythen Good together,'' Sawyer said, "but Laythen went out before the season started. I've never had season like this.''
Sawyer, in his 12th year coaching the Putnam County school, has been forced to alter the way his offense operates. He's never been a run-first coach, and really hasn't needed to be.
Levi Jordan, the recently graduated quarterback, threw 702 passes in his four years as a starter. The most any player has carried the ball in one season under Sawyer is 149 (Travis Dill in 12 games, 2005). Dill, with 1,206 yards that year, is also one of just two 1,000-yard rushers for the Bison since Sawyer took over. The other was Dustin Briscoe (1,043 in 2004).
Tucker is on pace to obliterate those numbers. He's projected to finish with 186 carries for 1,642 yards and 20 TDs.
"We're hoping he was not carrying the load,'' Sawyer said, "but he's doing a lot of it right now, for sure. We've got five more games, so I don't know. That's a lot of pounding, so we hope he can. And we hope we can get more help so he's not necessarily carrying 35 times a game.''
Tucker hasn't exactly been piling up numbers in garbage time, either. The Poca and Gilmer games were the closest for the Bison this year, and four of Buffalo's games have come against teams in the top 17 of the ratings (with a combined record of 14-4).
He's also flashed big-play ability, with scoring runs of 40, 67 and 85 yards, as well as TD receptions of 28 and 54 yards, kickoff return TDs of 82 and 80 yards and a 90-yard runback with a fumble.
"When we first got him,'' Sawyer said, "he used to be a fast kid who could get outside and get down the sideline. Now he's got to where he can make the cuts, he can break tackles and extend plays a little longer than he was able to do in the past.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.