August 25, 2006 COVINGTON | game stats |
|Gene Studebaker began the 2006 season like he ended the 2005 season...making unbelievable plays.
Covington head football coach Kevin Finfrock had reason to smile after his Buccaneers opened the 2006 season with an impressive 35-22 win over New Bremen, Friday.
"This is a big win for our kids and our program," said Finfrock. "The kids faced some adversity throughout the game and were able to overcome by playing with confidence."
The Buccaneers faced adversity in the opening minutes of the game as New Bremen held Covington on its first drive. The Cardinals then drove methodically down the field and scored on their first drive to take a 6-0 lead.
The score remained until the second quarter in which Covington scored 21 unanswered points.
First, senior running back Corey Patty dove in from two yards out and then Gene Studebaker scored on a nine-yard run.
Moments later Studebaker connected with Seth Mohler from 35 yards out after an interception by sophomore Andy Sparks.
The Buccaneer secondary picked off three New Bremen passes, two by Mohler.
"Our secondary played very well tonight," Finfrock said. "Seth Mohler was a man out there. He made some outstanding catches and was all over the field on defense."
New Bremen cut the margin to 21-12 at the half by scoring on the final play of the half.
Set up by an interference penalty that put the ball inside the 10, the Cardinals capitalized on a three-yard run by quarterback Bryce Bergman.
New Bremen again hit pay dirt to open the second half. This time it was a 31-yard pitch and catch from Bergman to Cory Barlage. The extra point was good to make the score 21-19.
Covington would answer, however, as Studebaker again did damage through the air. This time he connected with Drew Craft from 12 yards out after J.J. Thompson picked up a fumble and advanced the ball inside the Cardinal 20.
"Our offensive and defensive lines got stronger as the game progressed," said Finfrock. "We're inexperienced, but we'll continue to get better with time and repetition."
Faced with adversity to start the fourth quarter, the Buccaneer defense stiffened in the red zone to hold New Bremen to a field goal. Still, the Cardinals were able to close the gap to 28-22 with still 10 minutes to play.
Finfrock then put the game into the hands of his play makers.
Senior quarterback Gene Studebaker commanded his troops on a 70-yard, time consuming drive to seal the game.
In the drive Studebaker connected with Mohler on a critical third down play for 30 yards where Mohler made a circus catch over two New Bremen defenders to keep the drive alive.
Then, facing a third-and-goal from the fifteen, Studebaker was swarmed by four New Bremen defenders as he dropped back to pass. He managed to stay on his feet and roll to the right where he received a crushing block from Mohler to propel him into the end zone.
"Gene does some amazing things," smiled Finfrock. "He just played within himself and within the system. He displayed the type of leader you want directing your team. He kept his poise and made some awesome plays."
Looking for the big play to get back into the game, New Bremen went for broke on its final possession.
It was all for naught as three passes fell incomplete and then Covington's Jordy Burelison buried Bergman to give the ball back to the Covington offense with 2:30 to play.
"Jordy played a great game," Finfrock said. "He made some nice reads defensively and made plays.
"Drew Craft had a nice game as well. He made some nice catches and played well on the defensive side of the ball."
The Buccs then ran out the clock as they were deep inside New Bremen territory.
"We did an excellent job of clock management there at the end," continued Finfrock.
The Buccaneers used a balanced offensive attack by compiling 134 yards on the ground and 206 yards through the air. It was typical Bucc football, keeping opponents off balance by utilizing the talents of their players.
"This is a great way to start the season," conclude Finfrock. "To beat a quality program in our season opener is a good building block for us. We just have to keep improving each and every week."
Covington looks to keep the momentum and surge off confidence rolling as it opens conference play next week at Tri-County North.