NOVEMBER 3, 2007 - COVINGTON | game stats |
|Corey Patty and his mother receive a gift from Portsmouth Notre Dame prior to the game.
Destiny is one of those things some believe in and others don't. But if you were at Covington's Smith Field on Saturday night for the opening round of the state play-offs, you had to come away a believer.
It was destiny that brought Portsmouth Notre Dame to Smith Field on this night. It had to be.
The visiting Titans appeared to be out of the play-offs after last week's 12-0 defeat at the hands of Sciotoville Community School. Somehow, Portsmouth locked down the eighth spot and many assumed it meant a match-up with Springfield Central Catholic.
But Covington leap-frogged SCC thanks to a Bradford victory over National Trail and a New Bremen victory over Delphos St. John's.
Again, it had to be destiny.
The reason is the Portsmouth community is first class and they showed that throughout the week leading up to the game and throughout the game itself.
After noticing Corey Patty's battle with cancer on BuccsFootball.com, the Portsmouth community established a fundraiser at the school. A check was presented to Corey and his family prior to the game, a gesture that touched the entire Covington community.
Throughout the game the Portsmouth players displayed class by their actions on the field - helping up Covington players after each play.
To top it off, at the end of the contest both teams gathered around the #28 painted at mid-field in honor of Dan Rindler, a Buccaneer who would have been a senior on this year's team. Portsmouth head coach Kyle McNight said a prayer for Corey, the Covington community and the Buccaneers - who had just defeated his team 44-12 on the field.
McNight prayed for future success for the Covington football team, indicating it was an honor to play the state champions should it be God's will that the Buccaneers accomplish that goal.
Once again, it had to be destiny and destiny made for a special night.
"This was very special," said Covington coach Dave Miller in regards to the entire evening. "The way the Portsmouth people handle things is special. They have a ton of good things going on in that community, as does Covington. It's just amazing to be a part of this."
The Buccaneers were amazing on this night as they racked up 476 yards of offense and scored 44 points in their first play-off win since 2001.
Brock Iddings starting things off with a 60-yard touchdown run on Covington's second offensive possession of the game.
After the Buccaneer defense held the Titans on a three-and-out, Iddings broke loose again for a 33-yard touchdown run to put the Buccs up 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Covington then added more points in the second quarter as Iddings kicked a 42-yard field goal, which broke Matt Fulks' previous school record of 40 yards.
"We were chewing up chunks of yardage tonight," Miller said. "Our backs ran hard, but our offensive line just dominated the line of scrimmage."
Covington continued to dominate in the third quarter as it scored on its first three drives of the second half.
Jordy Burelison plowed his way in from four yards out and then Chris Long scored on two runs of 14 and 15 yards to push the lead to 37-0.
"Our fullbacks ran for some tough yards tonight," Miller explained. "We were running some basic plays, but the kids just ran the ball hard. Again, a lot of those yards came because our offensive line was pushing people off the ball."
It didn't matter who ran the ball, Covington kept on rolling.
Andy Sparks, who had not carried the ball once all year, moved in at fullback and ran for 61 yards on 8 carries - all in the second half.
"We had to do that (install Sparks at Fullback)," Miller said. "Jordy's been a little sore. Logan Hall and Garret Clark has been banged up as well, so we needed another player to step in there. Andy's a great athlete and he showed that by being able to move from receiver. In this offense you need 3 to 4 fullbacks."
Despite the success the Buccaneers were having, Notre Dame kept scratching and clawing for something positive.
That finally came late in the third quarter as Aaron Williams bolted down the Titan sideline for an 82-yard kick-off return to make the score 37-6.
Covington responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Logan Hall with Chris Long running the show under center. Long spearheaded two touchdown drives in replacement of starting quarterback Bill Dickey - a performance that pleased Miller under the circumstances.
"We didn't even know if Cookie (Chris Long) could go," said Miller. "He didn't practice much this week and he was doubtful. For him to go in there with limited reps and play like that was big for us."
Miller utilized his entire roster for much of the second half and eventually had the entire second unit in the game throughout much of the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame was able to take advantage with a 61-yard run by Craig Williams to make the final score 44-12.
"Our first-team defense had a heck of a night," Miller praised. "They were playing physical and flying to the football. And that's what we want."
Covington' starting defense was impressive as it didn't give up any points to the Titan offense. Portsmouth's scores came on a special teams play and against the second unit.
As please as Miller was with the defense, he was just as pleased with the balance his team showed on offense.
"We had seven backs rush for over four yards per carry," he said. "It didn't matter who got the ball, the kids did their job. There's not a selfish "me" player on this team. These kids are all about TEAM."
The "TEAM" approach is what Miller hopes will get the Buccs to another level.
Coach Miller will not let his team look ahead, but hopefully that level will be a state championship.
If it happens, it will be destiny.