OCTOBER 25, 2007 - BETHEL | game stats |
|Jordy Meyer is off to the races for a 52-yard touchdown reception.
For the sixth time in eight years the Covington Buccaneers completed the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record after holding off a gritty Bethel team 28-20.
The victory also means Covington will play in the state playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine seasons - dating back to 1999.
"Unbelievable," smiled Covington coach Dave Miller in regards to the feeling of what his team accomplished. "Great credit goes to these kids for the effort they put forth in accomplishing what we have to this point in the season."
The tenth victory didn't come easy as the host Bees gave as much as they took throughout much of the contest.
"Bethel came after us," complimented Miller. "They came out playing hard from the start. This was a hard hitting, physical football game. It was a battle. They had 15 seniors, so they were motivated."
The Bees opened the contest by moving the ball to the Covington ten and had first-and-goal.
But a two big hits by Jake Wise sparked a defensive stand that gave the Buccaneers the momentum.
"They moved the ball down there and had us on our heals a little bit," Miller explained. "But we were able to get the stop and get some momentum."
Covington moved the ball into Bethel territory, but was never able to convert the time-consuming drive into points as the first quarter ended without a score from either team.
But Bethel wasn't going to be denied on its second drive of the contest as quarterback John Prior connected with Zach Paden from eight yards out for the game's first score. The attempt for the two-point conversion failed, but Bethel had a 6-0 lead.
Trailing for the first time all season, the Buccaneers waisted little time taking the lead as Bill Dickey connected with Andy Sparks on a 47-yard touchdown strike on the second play from scrimmage.
Brock Iddings made good on the extra point attempt, giving the Buccs a 7-6 lead.
Covington scored two more times before the half as Dickey found Jordy Meyer over the middle on a 52-yard touchdown pass and Chris Long scampered 4 yards for another score.
Iddings was good on both extra point attempts as Covington took a 21-6 lead into the half.
"I liked the way we responded after they scored first," Miller said. "Bill does a good job reading the defense and making good decisions with the football. The touchdown to Jordy was his secondary read and Bill made the correct decision."
Covington began the second half looking to put the game away as it drove the ball into Bethel territory.
But a Buccaneer fumble on a pitchout was scooped up by Bethel's Adam Vandegrift and returned 56 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 21-12.
The score remained until the fourth quarter when Dickey found Logan Woloch open in the end zone on a 16-yard scoring strike to increase the Buccaneer lead to 28-12 with 5:56 left in the game.
After stopping Bethel on its next drive Covington had a chance to put the game away, but turned the ball over again via fumble at midfield.
Two plays later Troy Diltz pulled down a Daniel Yates pass between two defenders to move the ball at the one.
Ryan Mayes pounded his way in for the score and then Yates hit Jordan Burrows on the two-point conversion to cut the margin to 28-20 with 2:04 left in the game.
"For the second straight week we put the ball on the ground in the second half," said Miller. "We can't continue to do that or that will catch up with us sooner or later. We'll work hard to correct those mistakes."
Bethel attempted an on-side kick, but Andy Sparks gathered the attempts to give the Buccaneers another opportunity to put the game away.
But three straight plays resulted in minimal gain as the Buccaneers were forced to punt the ball back to the Bees with .59 left in the game.
"We have to finish better than we did tonight," said Miller. "When you have a chance to put a team away, you have to execute. We didn't do that in the second half until the end."
The end came as the Buccaneer defense shut the door on the Bees on four straight plays to preserve the win and another 10-0 regular season.
Covington will likely finish as one of the top two seeded teams in Region 24 and will wait to find out who they will host in the first round of the play-offs at Smith Field next Saturday.
Until then, Miller and the Buccaneers will enjoy what they have accomplished and prepare for the challenges ahead.