AUGUST 24, 2007 - NEW BREMEN | game stats |
|Dave Miller talks to the team after capturing his first win as Buccaneer head coach.
All week long the talk about the opening night of the 2007 football season was how hot the temperature would be on game night. Schools were let out early due to the heat, which only made for more concern about how high the thermometer would reach come game time.
In the end, it wasn't the temperature that had an affect on opening night. It was lightning.
A strand of storms gradually crept through the area, eventually forcing a delay at half time of the Covington Buccaneers' first content of the season against non-conference foe New Bremen.
The Buccs will make the trip back up Route 66 on Saturday at 11am holding a 7-0 lead.
"It's tough on the kids because they worked so hard to prepare for this night," said Covington coach Dave Miller in regards to the delay. "But you just move forward and overcome the adversity. Both teams are in the same boat."
Neither team could get much going in the first quarter as the game was scoreless after the first period.
The Buccs did have a shot at a long field goal on it's first possession, but it was blocked by New Bremen.
"We didn't get the ball on the tee," said a displeased Covington coach in regards to the execution of the play. "Brock (Iddings) has the leg to kick it that far, but we didn't execute the play."
Covington appeared to be taking command of the line of scrimmage in the second quarter as it moved the ball down the field into the heart of the New Bremen defense.
Senior fullback Jordy Burelison had two nice runs in the drive, while quarterback Bill Dickey ran the option to near perfection. A Dickey pitchout to Garrett Clark moved the ball to the four, putting Covington into perfect scoring position with first-and-goal.
Two plays later Dickey handed off to Brock Iddings, who scooted around the left side of the Cardinal defense for the touchdown.
"We started driving the ball pretty good there in the second quarter," explained Miller. "But we have to do a better job of being more consistent when we get back at it tomorrow."
As the dark clouds began rolling in, New Bremen put together an impressive drive of its own.
Starting at their own 30, the Cardinals move the ball all the way to the Covington 12.
But Chris "Cookie" Long made a critical defensive play to halt the threat.
The junior found himself one-on-one in the open field with New Bremen quarterback Bryce Bergman. Long stuffed Bergman, knocking the ball loose for a fumble recovered by Covington.
"That was a big play," Miller said. "We weren't playing the way we are capable of, but Cookie stepped up and made a big play. That was huge."
Covington then ran out the clock for the remainder of the half to send the two teams into the locker room with the Buccs holding a 7-0 lead.
During the break the lightning started to light up the sky, forcing the game to be called.
With unfinished business left for both teams, Miller feels the game is well in doubt.
"We have to start all over," he said. "It's 0-0 as far as we are concerned. Whoever makes the adjustments will win. This is the type of adversity we preach about to the kids. It's how you respond to the adversity that makes the difference."
To be continued - at 11 am Saturday.
AUGUST 25, 2007 NEW BREMEN
Covington head coach Dave Miller couldn't hide his feelings after his Buccaneers put on a stellar defensive effort in capturing their first win of the season and the first win for Miller as head coach.
"It (the win) feels great," Miller said trying to hold back a smile. "Wins are earned and we earned this one."
Indeed they did as Covington had to overcome a return trip to New Bremen after the game was called at half time on Friday. Plus, New Bremen had Covington's backs against the wall on numerous occasions.
"There were some big, big plays by the defense," Miller explained. "I think back to the forced fumble by "Cookie" (Chris Long) last night. That was a big play because they (New Bremen) was deep into our end of the field. Then today we had the goal-line stand to hold them to a field goal and another defensive stand at the end of the game. Those were some huge plays by our defense."
The goal line stand Miller was referring too came with less than 7:00 left in the game.
New Bremen worked the ball down the field through the air, taking advantage of a Covington fumble. The Cardinals were perched at the Buccaneer two-yard line with second-and-goal. But two straight tackles of a New Bremen runner by Jordy Burelison combined with a false start penalty moved the Cardinals back to the seven with fourth-and-goal.
New Bremen settled for a field goal to close the gap to 7-3.
"They (New Bremen) were right there on the one or two," described Miller. " To hold them to a field goal in that situation was huge."
The Covington offense couldn't get untracked throughout the second half and eventually left the New Bremen offense with one last chance to steal the game in the final 2:00.
But the Buccaneer defense was up to the task, although it had to overcome some adversity along the way.
A forced fumble by Jake Wise on New Bremen quarterback Bryce Bergmen appeared to end New Bremen's hopes. But a late hit penalty was called on Covington giving New Bremen new life.
Once again the Buccaneer defense forced New Bremen into playing up hill. The Cardinals had fourth-and-fourteen and a desperation pass bounced off the hands of a Covington defender in what appeared to be the end of the contest.
But a pass interference penalty gave the Cardinals a new set of downs.
"In every game you are going to have some close calls," Miller said. "But you just have to play and keep your focus. The kids did and that was the difference."
Covington's defense made one last stand as it held New Bremen on four straight plays to take over the ball with just nine seconds left.
Bill Dickey took a knee to end the contest with Covington holding on for a 7-3 win.
"Our defensive line was outstanding," praised Miller. "There at the end we had a three-man rush with Josh (Boehringer), Logan (Hall) and Jake (Wise) and we got a lot of heat on the quarterback. The kids were coming hard and I don't know of too many quarterbacks that can make plays with pressure in their face."
Coming hard on every play is what Miller would like to keep improving on.
"That's the concept," Miller continued. "Play hard on every single play and never take a play off. The kids are starting to get that, but we can do better. We'll build on this effort and improve."
The Buccaneers (1-0) will host rival Bradford (0-1) next Friday.