TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School E-Sports Call of Duty “Team A” took a fifth-place finish in the High School E-Sports League’s National Tournament, compiling a 1-2 record over the span of three matches against some of the best gaming competition from around the country, to conclude their first full year of competition. Head Coach Anthony McDaniels’ program quickly built a reputation as one of the best Call of Duty Teams in the country, beating several high profile opponents on their way to securing a bid to the national competition.
In their first match of Nationals, the B-UHS Project Leviathan Gaming Call of Duty Team A, consisting of Robert Debarr, Caiden McDaniels, Cameron Ervin, Eddie Burnside II and Joshua Gregory squared off against defending Call of Duty national champion Crestwood High School. The Bucs competed hard, but in the end lost to the talented group of Crestwood gamers in three close straight games.
Coming off a close loss to Crestwood, the Bucs needed to play their best game to stay alive in the double-elimination tourney. Coach McDaniels’ team answered the call, responding in style with a blowout win, taking three straight events to dismiss their second opponent rather easily.
In the third-round, with an opportunity to play for a national title on the line, Coach McDaniels’ Team took on a talented team of gamers from Gainesville (Fla.) High School. The boys of B-UHS Call of Duty Team A could not quite pull out a win, being eliminated in a very close match, falling just short of a spot in the finals.
Despite this, the gamers representing B-UHS have nothing to hang their heads about. The fact that McDaniels and the B-UHS gamers have managed to string together such an impressive season, garner national attention and secure several gamers college scholarship offers in just their first year of existence is evidence enough that this program was a very worthwhile endeavor to undertake.
Coach McDaniels took a moment to reflect on his first season at the helm of the B-UHS E-Sports program, saying, “I am proud of what we accomplished in this first season. Our inaugural team established us as a very competitive program on the e-sports scene, especially in Call of Duty. I think that e-sports, in general, opens up new scholarship opportunities that will allow a new kind of athlete to pay for college as well as take part in an activity that they are passionate about. This sport is one of the fastest growing in the country and I am glad to be opening up these avenues to higher education for my kids.”
McDaniels also expressed how much he is looking forward to next season, saying, “We have a strong core of returning players primed to compete next season. We are still looking for interested members to join our already established core group. I would love to build this program to be competitive in as many games as possible, so next season starts with putting the word out and rounding out our team to compensate for the loss of Caiden McDaniels and Cameron Ervin to graduation.”