|BUCCS GET BACK TO THE PLAYOFFS...
The Buccs ended the decade with an outstanding season, which included a playoff birth.
The 1999 Buccs, coached by Ted Peacock, finished the regular season at 9-1 and qualified for their first playoff appearance since 1996. Although they were knocked off 14-7 in the first round of the playoffs, the 1999 team put the Buccs football program back on the map.
It was evident the first few weeks of the season that this team was very good and had a chance to make some noise in the CCC. They thouroghly dominated their first six games, recording two shutouts and only surrendering 7 points per game.
They ran into a buzzsaw, however, as they fell 33-0 to a powerful Twin valley South team. (South would go on to the Regional Finals in 1999.)
The Buccs rebounded with an impressive 20-7 win over Ansonia to get right back in the race for the CCC title.
Another impressive win over Cedarville had the Buccs thinking playoffs. They locked down a playoff spot with a 49-8 thumping over Bradford.
In a rematch with Ansonia in the first round of the playoffs, the Buccs fell one yard short on the last play of the game. The Tigers escaped with a 14-7 win on the Buccs' home field, which left the Covington faithful stunned.
The loss didn't overshadow the fact that the 1999 Buccs captured a share of the CCC championship and gave Bucc fans plenty to cheer about in 1999.
Covington 26, Miami East 6
Aug. 28, 1999 CASSTOWN
The Covington Buccaneers used a 10-yard pass from Brad Boothe to Josh Burelison with under forty seconds to go in the first half to break open a 6-0 game and cruise to a 26-6 season opening win over the Miami East Vikings.
After a Tony Gragg 3-yard run to put the Buccs up 6-0, the Vikings put the clamps down on the Buccaneer offense. The Vikings themselves falied to move the ball with any consistency and critical mistakes prevented them from keeping the score within striking distance.
"The second quarter fumble was a big play," Covington coach Ted Peacock said. "It really was a turning point in momentum. I was hoping for a turnover in that situation. We saw in their scrimmage they were having trouble handling the ball. Our goal was to have our defense recover two turnovers."
The Buccs continued to capitalize on Viking mistakes in the second half. A pass interference penalty on Miami East set the Buccs up deep inside Viking territory. Josh Reck increased the Buccaneer advantage to 20-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third period.
Covington would strike again in the fourth as Brad Boothe squeaked his way in from 6 yards out to put the game out of reach at 26-0. Miami East avoided the shutout by marching 67 yards in 7:00 on a drive that was finalized by a Nate Chivington 3-yard run.
"They are strong defensively, but we managed to move the ball well," said coach Peacock. "We just made too many mistakes inside the 20 and didn't get points out of a couple of drives."
Tony Gregg led the Buccs with 75 yards on 15 carries and Jason Placeway contributed with 51 yards of his own.
Covington hosts National Trail next Friday in their home opener.
Covington - Tony Gragg 3-yard run (kick failed)
Covington - Josh Burelison 10-yard pass from Brad Boothe (Placeway run)
Covington - Josh Reck 1-yard run (kick failed)
Covington - Brad Boothe 6-yard run (kick failed)
Miami East - Nathan Chivington 2-yard run (kick failed)
Covington 34, National Trail 14
Sept. 4, 1999 COVINGTON
Josh Burelison scored thee touchdowns to lead Covington to a win over National Trail in its Cross County Conference opener Friday.
Burelison caught 94 yards worth of passes as teammate Jason Placeway ran for 83 yards, busting up a tough National Trail defense. Placeway scored two touchdowns and kicked three extra points.
"They were playing us tough against the run and option," Covington coach Ted Peacock said. "Jason made a big pass play up the seam in the second quarter when we needed a boost in our passing game. We started moving the football around in the second half."
Indeed, Covington scored 22 of its 34 points in the second half thanks to Burelison-Brad Boothe connections. Boothe passed for 184 yards, making up for two interceptions.
But offense was only part of the story.
"I can't say enough about our defense," Peacock said. "They bailed us out when we were in a tough situation (early in the game)."
Covington held National Trail to 83 yards passing and 98 yards rushing.
Covington 21, Tri-County North 0
Sept. 11, 1999 COVINGTON
The Covington Buccaneers improve to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the CCC by recording their first shutout of the season with a 21-0 victory over Tri-County North.
Playing in front of the hometown fans, Covington used a stingy defense and a potent ground attack to control the game from start to finish. The Buccaneers' defensive line and linebackers consistently controlled the line of scrimmage, not allowing North to get their own ground game untracked.
The win sets up another CCC showdown with a much improved Bethel team next Friday. A win by the Buccs would position the Buccs as the frontrunner for the Conference title. The Buccs do, however, still have key games against Ansonia and Twin Valley South on the horizon.
Covington 33, Bethel 6
Sept. 17, 1999 BETHEL
The Covington Buccaneers continue to roll as they remain unbeaten at 3-0 and 2-0 in the CCC with a convincing 33-6 win over the Bethel Bees.
The Buccs took little time to get things started. Starting from their own 40, the Buccs scored on the opening drive of the game with a 1-yard run by Josh Burelison. The extra point attempt was mishandled so the score remained 6-0.
The Buccs continued to move the ball on their next possession, but the drive failed inside the Bees' 10 as Brad Boothe was sacked on fourth down.
The Buccs held Bethel deep in their own territory, forcing them to punt out of their own endzone. Covington took over at the Bethel 40 and ate up nearly 4 minutes of the clock. The short drive resulted in a 9-yard Brad Boothe run on forth down to make the score 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Covington's defense again shut the Bees down on their next possession. Bethel went three and out giving the Buccs the ball at their own 30-yard line. After being stopped for no gain on first down, Jason Placeway burst through the Bethel defense for a 70-yard touchdown run to give the Buccs a 21-0 lead with 8:30 in the second quarter.
Bethel finally got things going on their next possession, but almost squandered an opportunity to get back into the game. Sophomore quarterback Brian Shoup found a receiver open for an apparent 15-yard touchdown, but the play was called back due to holding. The Buccs gave new life to the Bees on the next play with a pass interferance penalty, giving Bethel first and goal at the 1-yard line. Bethel punched the ball in to cut the lead to 21-6 at the half.
An interception by Paul Doseck set the Buccs up for their next score early in the fourth quarter. Tony Gregg scored from a yard out to increase the Covington lead to 26-6.
With the game well in hand the Buccs put the finishing touches on a dominating performance with a 50-yard touchdown on a punt return by sophomore Josh Burelison. The extra point by Placeway completed the scoring to 33-6 in favor of the Buccs.
Placeway led the Buccs with 156 yard rushing while Gragg added 107 yards on the ground.
The Buccs host Mississinawa Valley next Friday for Homecoming.
Covington - Josh Burelison 1-yard run (pass - failed)
Covington - Brad Boothe - 9-yard run (Paul Doseck pas from Boothe)
Covington - Jason Placeway 70 yard run (kick - Placeway)
Bethel - Josh Derr 2-yard run (kick - failed)
Covington - Tony Gragg 1-yard run (run - failed)
Covington - Burelison 50-yard punt return (kick - blocked)
Covington 52, Mississinawa Valley 0
Sept. 25, 1999 COVINGTON
Mississinawa Valley's win over Bradford last week may have provided false hope that the Blackhawks could compete with the unbeaten Covington Buccaneers. All hope was ended early as the Buccaneers racked up nearly 550 yards of offense and rolled to 52-0 victory to remain unbeaten.
Tony Gragg led the Buccs with 177 yards on 11 carries and Jason Placeway rushed for 101 yards on 8 carries as the Buccs offense had their way with the Blackhawk defense. Gragg and Placeway both reached the endzone twice each for the Buccs.
The Buccaneer defense as also dominated as they forced three interceptions, one each by Mike Cope, Jordan Shafer and Sam Reck and a fumble by Marty Finfrock. The Buccs also forced seven punts and held Mississinawa to under 100 yards total offense. One Mississinawa punt was blocked by the Buccs and recovered in the endzone by Paul Doseck.
"Our kids are starting to focus right now," said coach Peacock. "We knew we had to put them away early and that's what we did. Tony (Gragg) and Jason (Placeway) were explosive tonight and it's nice to have depth at that (running back) position."
In addition to Gragg and Placeway scoring for the Buccs, Paul Doseck, Josh Reck, Josh Burelison and Aaron Hollopeter also reached the endzone for the Buccs.
Covington - Tony Gragg 8-yard run (kick - Jason Placeway)
Covington - Paul Doseck blocked punt (kick - Placeway)
Covington - Placeway 5-yard run (kick - failed)
Covington - Gragg 66-yard run (kick - failed)
Covington - Josh Reck 8-yard run (kick - failed)
Covington - Josh Burelison 9-yard run (kick - failed)
Covington - Placeway 9-yard run (kick - Placeway)
Covington - Aaron Hollapeter 8-yard run (kick - Placeway)
Covington 49, Arcanum 0
Oct 1, 1999 ARCANUM
The Covington Buccaneers continued to roll as they trounced the Arcanum Trojans by the score of 49-0 Friday night. Led by a powerful ground game and stingy defense, the Buccs racked up 438 yards of total offense and held the Trojans scoreless for the shutout.
To say the Buccaneer offense is potent is an understatement as evident by the performance of their backfield. Two players rushed for over 100 yards and a third player was 4 yards shy of reaching 100 yards on the ground. Leading the way was bullish fullback Tony Gragg, who rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Quarterback Brad Boothe rushed for 104 yards and a 40-yard touchdown on nine carries. Halfback Jason Placeway had 96 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries.
With the win, Covington raised its record to 6-0, 5-0 in the CCC. The Buccs host Twin Valley South next Friday in a showdown which could determine the conference championship.
Covington 0, Twin Valley South 33
Oct 8, 1999 COVINGTON
If speed kills, what kills speed? How about a gang tackling defense and sloppy field conditions.
That's what Twin Valley South used tonight to defeat the Covington Buccaneers by the shocking score of 33-0 in Covington.
Coming into tonight's showdown with two unbeaten teams, the Buccs were known for their speed and powerful running attack with Tony Gragg and Jason Placeway. Everyone knew South had a talented backfield, but they were thaught to be a year away since two of those players (Tommy Byrd and Brad Lindloff) were sophomores. Conventional wisdom meant the more experienced Buccs had the advantage, plus they were playing on their home field.
What transpired was Twin valley South's domination on both sides of the ball, led by the two sophomore sensations in the South backfield and a hustling defense.
"I'm proud of our defense
they came to play tonight," said South coach David Miller. "Our offense gets the recognition, but our defense stepped up tonight."
South's offense wasn't too shabby either as they scored 33 points on a stingy Buccaneer defense. South quarterback Brad Lindloff started things off with a 9-yard touchdown run to make the score 6-0 early. The Panthers increased their lead to 14-0 at the half on another run by Lindloff from 17-yards out.
Mistakes destroyed any hope of the Buccaneers getting back into the game as they turned the ball over 4 times on the night.
"South scouted us well," said Covington coach Ted Peacock. "We didn't take care of the ball and had too many missed assignments. A lot of that was due to how well they played. I give them credit. They took it to us."
Byrd scored twice in the second half and Lindloff scored his third touchdown of the night late in the fourth period to give South a 33-0 win and keep them unbeaten on the season.
The Buccs will have to go back to the drawing board and refocus on getting to the state playoffs. At 6-1, they have three tough games left and need the wins to reach the post season.
"We're not through," continued coach Peacock. "This may sting right now, but the sun will come up tomorrow and we'll move on. I'm proud of these kids in the effort they gave. They never quit and they showed some class tonight. We'll bounce back from this. One loss doesn't make a season."
Covington 20, Ansonia 7
Oct. 15, 1999 COVINGTON
You learn about character of young athletes from how they react when the chips are down. Do they crumble under the pressure, or do they overcome their adversity and come back with a vengence.
For the Covington Buccaneers, the chips were never more down than last week. Twin Valley South came to Covington and put one on the Buccs and handed them their first loss of the season. The Buccs could have just packed it in, especially when Ansonia loomed on the horizon.
"After last week's loss, the players got together to make some changes," coach Ted Peacock said. "We spent this week correcting last week's mistakes."
The Buccs responded with a convincing 20-7 victory over Ansonia and a new outlook for the rest of the season.
The Buccs jumped on the Tigers early with 12 unanswered points. Mike Cope hauled in a 30-yard pass from Brad Boothe for the first points of the game. Boothe then took matters into his own hands with a 22-yard run and the Buccs were off and running.
Covington's impressive offensive ground game was led by Tony Gragg, who contributed 175 rushing yards on 30 carries.
The Buccs' defense had also remained strong even in the absence of senior linebacker Doug Brooks. Freshman Boomer Schmidt has stepped up to fill the shoes of Brooks, who suffered a knee injury in practice.
"He is a great athlete for his age, and he has really helped us out," coach Peacock said of Schmidt.
The Buccs improve to 7-1 on the season and 6-1 in the CCC. Cedarville is next on the schedule as Covington looks to take another step closer to their first state playoff appearance since 1996.
Covington 32, Cedarville 6
Oct. 23, 1999 COVINGTON
Two weeks ago the Covington Buccaneers were handed a crushing blow at the hands of Twin Valley South. Going in the Buccs were unbeaten, but after a 33-0 defeat Covington was left many fans to wonder about their playoff future with three games were left against tough opponents.
Through it all coach Peacock believed in his team and remained optimistic. "We'll bounce back," said coach Peacock after that dreadful game two weeks ago.
Oh, how he was right!
Last week the Buccs gutted their way to a 20-7 win over Ansonia and if there were any doubts remaining heading into tonight's game against Cedarville, the Buccs answered their critics in grand fashion.
In front of a packed house at Covington's Smith Field, the Covington Buccaneers ran away from the Cedarville Indians for a 32-6 win. With a mixture of upperclassman and underclassman contributing and making big plays, the Buccs played their best game of the season against one of the better teams on their schedule.
Senior Jason Placeway started things off on the opening kickoff. Placeway gathered in the kick at his own seven, broke a few tackles and raced 93 yards down the sidelines for the touchdown.
The Bucc defense then held Cedarville on their first drive as freshman linebacker Boomer Schmidt recorded a sack on 3rd and 6.
Cedarville held the Buccs on their second possession of the game and took the ball over on downs. Again, the Indians marched down the field, only to be stuffed inside the Buccaneer 10. The Indians were forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal attempt to try and get on the scoreboard. Covington sophomore, Mike Cope broke through the line and blocked the attempted field goal. With the ball rolling freely on the ground, Cope picked up the loose ball and raced untouched 84-yards for the score.
"It happened so fast," said Cope. "I got my hands on the ball the next thing I know I'm headed for the endzone. I went untouched and I was very surprised."
Boomer Schmidt got the Buccs going again in the second quarter. Boomer recorded his second sack to set the Buccs up at the Cedarville 40. After a quick pass from Brad Boothe to Josh Burelison, Placeway scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run to make the score 19-0 at the half.
Cedarville got on the scoreboard quickly in the third quarter. The Indians marched down the field and score on a 6-yard touchdown pass to cut the Buccaneer lead to 19-6.
The Buccs came right back and put the game out of reach a few possessions later. Josh Reck intercepted a Cedarville pass which resulted in a 7-yard run by Tony Gragg. Sophomore Josh Burelison closed out the scoring with a 1-yard run later in the fourth quarter to give the Buccs a 32-6 win and a trip to the state playoffs.
"We're a pretty good football team," commented coach Peacock. "The kids are starting to believe in themselves a little bit and it shows. After the South loss, it was a matter of getting our confidence back. I think we're getting there."
The Buccs travel to Bradford next Friday for the season finale. Regardless of the outcome, the Buccs are in the playoffs. Covington could lock up a home game in the first round with a win.
Covington 49, Bradford 8
Nov. 5, 1999 COVINGTON
The Covington Buccaneers locked up a playoff spot last week with a win over Cedarville. This week, they locked up a home game in the first round of the state playoffs, their first such appearance since 1996.
The outcome of the game was never in doubt as Covington used it's powerful ground attack to pound out a 49-8 victory over long-time rival, Bradford.
The Buccs backfield consisting of Tony Gragg, Jason Placeway and Brad Boothe picked their way through the Bradford defense for huge chuncks of yardage. The Buccaneer offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and kept the Railroaders on their heals.
The Buccaneer defense was also dominant as they continually harrassed Bradford ballcarriers.
With the win the Buccs gain a share of the CCC title and raise their record to 9-1 on the season and 7-1 in the CCC. They now await to find out who their opponent will be next weekend in the first round of the state playoffs.
Covington 7, Ansonia 14 (State Playoffs)
Nov. 5, 1999 COVINGTON
When Bucc fans found out the Ansonia Tigers were coming to town for a first round playoff matchup, victory seemed likely. After all, the Buccs dominated the Tigers just three weeks earlier by the score of 20-7. Also, the Buccs have played even better football over the past two weeks, defeating a powerful Cedarville team and Bradford to close out the regular season.
That's why they play the games!
Ansonia surprised everyone by taking a stunning 14-7 victory from the Buccs in front of a standing-room-only croud.
The fact that Ansonia knocked off the Buccs was a surprise to the black and white faithful, but the way they did it was more of a shock.
Trailing 14-7 and Covington perched on the Ansonia 1-yard line with seconds to go, the game appeared to be headed to overtime. After all, Covington had little trouble driving down the field and needed just 1 more yard to put the ball in the endzone.
Ansonia stuffed the line of scrimmage and time ran out, leaving the Covington faithful holding their breathe in disbelief. As the Ansonia players celebrated in teh middle of the field, many Buccaneers stood by in shock looking at the scoreboard.
As shocking as the playoff loss is, the future seems bright and a rematch is enevidable. Both teams will lose key players to graduation, but many young players return next season.
This may be the beginning of a new rivalry.
1999 Covington Buccaneers: Row 1 - Jon Sampson, Dan Sampson, Jimmy Swallow, Manager Trevor Wills, Justin Iddings, Aaron Hollopeter. Row 2 - Jesse Hitt, Elijah Reck, Derrick Canan, Mykal McEldowney, alex Hague, Josh Reck, Doug Apple, Dane Beeman. Row 3 - Travis Wintrow, Jordan Shafer, Seth Boehringer, Boomer Schmidt, Justin Bone, Mike Cope, Bubby Bubeck, Marc Hitt, Jeremey Robinson. Row 4 - Josh Vargo, B.J. Owens, David White, Dusty Blythe, Jason Placeway, Tony Gragg, Aaron Birman, Josh Burelison. Row 5 - Matt Maier, Clint Mohler, John Starry, Dan Burgess, Brad Boothe, Luke Hollopeter, Greg Morrow, Doug Brooks. Row 6 - Dusty Hess, Josh Beeman, Marty Finfrock, Brandon Owens, Paul Doseck, Nate Boehringer, San Reck, Mike Molesky, Andy Hitt. Row 5 - Head Coach Ted Peacock, Coach Doug Swartz, Coach Dave Tobias, Coach Kevin Finfrock.
Left to Right: Jason Placeway runs over a Tri-County North defender; Quarterback Brad Boothe leads the Buccaneer Offense; Marty Finfrock and Nate Boehringer provided tough defense.