September 22, 2006 COVINGTON | game stats |
|Annelise Kimmel was crowned the 2006 Homecoming Queen.
Mother Nature and the Covington Buccaneers didn't make the long bus ride from New Paris an enjoyable one for the National Trail Blazers.
In front a a homecoming crowd and the newly crowned Homecoming Queen Annalise Kimmel, the Buccaneers thoroughly dominated the winless Blazers 49-0 under adverse weather conditions.
The unbeaten Buccs took control of the game on National Trail's opening possession as Drew Craft blocked a Blazer punt, giving Covington the ball in scoring position.
A few plays later quarterback Gene Studebaker squirted in from 6 yards out to give the Buccs a 7-0 lead after the point-after by Tyler Kanet.
"The blocked punt was big because it set the tone," said Covington coach Kevin Finfrock. "We had excellent field position all night."
After holding the visiting Blazers on their next possession, Covington took little time reaching the end zone again.
Studebaker called his own number for the second time for a 15-yard touchdown run, while Kanet kicked the extra point for a 14-0 Covington lead.
"I'm pretty pleased with our offensive line tonight," said Finfrock. "They controlled the line of scrimmage and gave our backs room to run. We still have some things to shore up with pass protection, but overall the line played well."
National Trail couldn't get anything going offensively and turned the ball over to Covington once more before the end of the first quarter.
This time the Buccs' offense stalled on three straight plays and were forced to punt for the only time in the contest.
However, Seth Mohler punched the ball loose from the Blazer runner, giving the ball back to Covington inside National Trail territory as the first quarter came to a close.
Moments later Studebaker found Mohler down the home sideline for a 35-yard hookup to put the ball at the three.
Two plays later Studebaker hooked up again with Mohler in the corner of the end zone for the score. The extra point failed leaving the score 20-0 in favor of the Buccs.
"We had some big plays tonight," Finfrock said. "Gene had some nice runs and Seth made some spectacular catches."
Covington would score two more times by the end of the first half.
First, Corey Patty broke free and weaved his way through the National Trail defense for a 20-yard touchdown run. Kanet kicked the extra point to push the Covington lead to 27-0.
"Corey Patty had his best game of the season tonight," said Finfrock of Patty's 85 rushing yards on seven carries. "He ran hard and made people miss. It was good to see."
Covington's final touchdown of the first half came in the closing minute.
Set up by the third blocked punt by the Buccaneers, Studebaker again found Mohler in the corner of the end zone from three yards out. Kanet made good again on the point-after to make the score 34-0 at the half.
While the players were warming up for the second half, lightning was spotted to force a long delay before play resumed.
"A delay like that can be tough," described Finfrock. "You're always concerned about the kids staying loose and focused, especially when you are up 34-0. Fortunately the kids came out focused and ready to play."
With rain pouring heavily and the Smith Field stands virtually empty, the Buccs took the second half kick-off to the 34-yard line on a nice return by Patty.
On the very next play Gene Studebaker broke free from 34 yards out to increase the margin to 41-0.
Covington then pulled the entire starting lineup and inserted the second unit.
Still, Covington never missed a beat as it scored once more on a 1-yard Chris Long run. Long then fielded a bad snap from center on the extra point attempt and juked his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 49-0 win.
"Our second unit came in and played very well," Finfrock said. "It was good we jumped on them early in the second half and were able to get the younger kids into the game."
The Buccaneer defense, which has struggled at times this year, was the source of Finfrock's praise after recording its first shutout of the season.
"I'm very pleased with the play of our defensive line tonight," Finfrock said. "They swarmed to the ball and played within the system. They played with intensity and passion. That's something I've been waiting to see."
After improving to 5-0 on the season and 4-0 in the Cross County Conference, the Buccs know things will get tougher after wins over three straight opponents still looking for their first wins.
"We have some big games ahead of us," concluded Finfrock. "There are some things we need to shore up with penalties. We had some that hurt tonight - one that prevented a 75-yard touchdown run by Gene. We can't have those (penalties) in situations like that."
Next week Covington travels to Ansonia for a key conference match-up. Ansonia ended Bethel's unbeaten winning streak with a 20-14 victory over the Bees.