The duo caught touchdown passes of 31 and 56 yards on consecutive offensive possessions to turn a 13-point lead into a 41-0 blowout Suburban Conference victory at The Wood.
“The first series set the tone, and then we got a couple touchdowns with some great individual plays,” Kirkwood coach Matt Irvin said. “Of course, they were set up by some blocks and good throws, but both receivers made some great plays.
"You do everything right, and one kid makes a great play … that can be discouraging for a defense.”
With 8:27 left in the second, quarterback/wide receiver Buckner found McHugh down the left sideline for a 31-yard TD strike and a 20-0 lead.
After the Kirkwood (4-0, 3-0) defense forced the fourth of 10 punts by the Vikings (2-3, 0-3) after five plays, Buckner caught a 56-yard pass down the right sideline from junior quarterback Jordan Bishop with 7:03 left.
“The big plays have killed us all year, but when you play a team like Kirkwood, they’re big-play oriented,” North coach Bob Bunton said.
“They’re not going to line up with a couple tight ends and drive it down your throat. That’s how they thrive, and they’ve got big time players.”
Buckner finished with 192 yards passing and two TDs on 5-of-6 passing. He also had two runs for 37 yards and the 56-yard TD catch.
McHugh, who has signed with Northwestern, had five catches for 206 yards and two TDs.
The duo, which has been playing together since first grade, connected for 178 passing yards.
“I run as fast as I can. He throws as far as he can,” McHugh said.
“And we score, that’s it,” Buckner added.
McHugh continued: “He’ll put the ball in the air 50 yards. He’ll put it on the ground, run it himself 50 yards. He’ll catch the ball in the end zone. He can do it all. He’s a player.”
Defensively, Kirkwood limited Parkway North to 130 yards of offense. Pioneers senior Jeremiah Chester had eight tackles and senior teammate Clayton Burnett had three tackles for loss.
“There’s weapons everywhere,” Bunton said. “Defensively, that’s the best team we’ve faced and may face, I don’t know. There’s no real weakness on any phase of their game, and we knew that coming in.”
The Pioneers defense hasn't allow a TD in eight quarters, last giving up a score with one minute left of a 42-7 victory over Seckman.
“They make it easy for us,” Buckner said of the defense. “They get the momentum up, and that makes it easy for us.”
Kirkwood’s offensive line survived injuries to two starters and their second and third string right tackle.
“We were a little nervous going into the game because we lost two right tackles, so we had third string in there and he got injured,” senior offensive lineman Lucas Sandheinrich said.
“I have full confidence in every one, but it’s still nerve racking when your first three get injured.”
Extra Points: North senior WR/P Michael Bozarth averaged 35.6 yards on 10 punts … North senior RB Jovente Suber salvaged a rough night of running with a 29-yard dash in the second half, giving him 57 yards on 13 carries … Kirkwood junior QB Bishop had 120 yards and two TDs on 7-of-10 passing … Kirkwood, ranked No. 4 in the latest Class 5 statewide poll, plays at No. 5 Parkway Central at 7 p.m. Friday. … Parkway North, which is receiving votes in the Class 5 poll, hosts Seckman at 7 p.m. Friday.