AUGUST 17, 2007 COVINGTON
|Logan Woloch heads toward the end zone after a catch.
Since the day Dave Miller arrived as the new head coach at Covington he has been preaching to his team about reaching the next level. That next level doesn't only mean playing deep into the play-offs, but a higher level on every single play.
"We constantly stress that (the next level)," said Miller. "You won't get to where you want to go unless you increase your level of play on every single play."
What Miller is attempting to get his out of his Buccaneers is the same thing that has been the foundation of Versailles football for decades.
The Tigers have been to the highest level of high school football. They are known for hard-nosed, physical play. They have a reputation as a team that wears the opponent down both mentally and physically through their effort an intensity.
"Every good program has that (physical play)," Miller explained. "That's why Versailles has been so good for so many years. They're relentless and they understand how to go hard on every single play."
What Miller witnessed out of his team in the three-quarter live scrimmage against the Tigers was the preaching to his kids is paying off.
After a rough start in which Versailles scored on its second play from scrimmage and Covington fumbled on its first play, the Buccaneers controlled the remainder of the contest by playing physical football for a 7-6 victory on the scoreboard.
"We looked really bad on our first defensive series and our first offensive series," said Miller. "But the kids decided they had enough of that (poor play). I'm very pleased with the way the kids faced adversity and turned it up a notch."
Covington trailed 6-0 at the half, but had three golden opportunities to score. The Buccs squandered those chances with two fumbles in the red zone and a holding penalty. One of the fumbles came with Covington perched on the two-yard-line.
"We have to do a better job of finishing plays and finishing drives," explained Miller. "We worked so hard to get down there and then had some mental mistakes. We can't lose our focus and shoot ourselves in the foot like that."
Covington responded in the second half by moving the ball down the field and eventually punching the ball in for the score.
Set up by a 30-yard pass from Bill Dickey to Logan Woloch, senior Jordy Burelison plowed his way in from the one.
"The kids weren't happy at half time," Miller said. "I was pleased with the way we came out and moved the ball down the field. The offensive line just controlled the line of scrimmage. We responded very well."
Miller had high praise for his teams defensive effort, especially after a sluggish start.
"Our defense really played well as the game went on," he said. "I saw a lot of kids swarming to the football and playing with emotion and passion. The kids are starting to realize that good things happen when you play hard every single play and execute."
Despite a solid effort, Miller sees plenty of work that needs to be done before the season opener against New Bremen next week.
"We made some mistakes and we'll see that on film," Miller continued. "We'll correct those things and continue to work on our conditioning and toughness. We'll continue to get better."
He also isn't about to let his team look ahead.
"We have to take it one game, one day and one play at a time," Miller concluded. "We have to take care of the little things and all of the bigger goals will fall into place. It starts will going hard in everything you do. Even in warm-ups. You warm up as hard as you practice. You practice as hard as you play. Those are the key elements to success."