|BIG DEBUTE...is what sophomore Tyler Noffsinger had in his first action in his high school career.
|COOKIE...rushed for 81 yards on 11 carries in his final game at Smith Field.
OCTOBER 31, 2008 - COVINGTON
Covington coach Dave Miller couldn't hide the pride he had for the performance of his young Buccaneer team in a 56-12 play-off win over Lockland at the friendly confines of Smith Field.
"Not only was this a good win because it was a play-off win, but the way we played makes this special," Miller said. "Our attitude was outstanding and our energy level was very high. The kids definitely came to play tonight and played very hard from start to finish."
Playing hard on every play for four quarters has been something Coach Miller has preached since the day he arrived. He could tell hours before the game his team was focus and ready to do just that.
"You could tell in our walk-through we were focused," he continued. The intensity level was as high as I've seen it. We could tell they are focused."
That focus was on display during the opening drive of the game as Covington begin at its own 15 and marched 85 yards for the score.
Garrett Clark capped the effort with a two-yard touchdown run to make the score 7-0.
After stopping Lockland on three straight plays and forcing a punt, Covington took over near mid-field for its second possession.
A few plays later Jake Bitner faked out the Lockland defense and raced untouched from 13 yards out to increase the margin to 14-0.
Lockland responded with a seven-yard touchdown run by James Pugh to cut the margin to 14-6 as the point-after was off the mark.
The second quarter was the Garrett Clark show as the junior fullback tore up the Lockland defense for many of his 128 first-half yards in the quarter.
Fifty-two of those yards came on one play as Clark ran over a Lockland defender at the line of scrimmage and outran the rest of the defense for the score.
After a 20-yard touchdown strike from Jake Stewart to Corey Haines on a halfback pass made the score 29-6, Clark hit pay dirt again before the half.
This time came from 16 yards out to increase the Buccaneer lead to 36-9 at intermission.
"Garrett had a great game," Miller praised. "He ran the ball very hard and was conscious of protecting the ball. That was a nice effort by Garrett."
Clark ended the contest with 170 yards on 19 carries and four touchdowns.
His final touchdown of the night came after the Buccs stopped Lockland on the opening possession of the second half.
The Buccaneer bruiser powered his way in from five yards out to push the lead to 43-6 as Logan Woloch made good on his fifth extra point.
Things got even worse for Lockland on its next possession as sophomore Josh Boehringer put a big hit on DaShawn Davis, forcing a fumble that Covington recovered in Panther territory.
A few plays later Tyler Noffsinger scored his first high school touchdown on a three-yard run to make the score 50-6.
Covington then put the finishing touches on an impressive outing with its eighth touchdown of the night as Tyler Thompson pounded his way in from four yards out.
"We couldn't have asked for a better situation - to have a home play-off game after everything we've been through this season - that's huge," Miller said. "This was a confidence builder for our football team. We've overcome a lot adversity and to be where we are right now is big."
What is also big for the Buccs is a memorable game for the senior class, who played its last game on Smith Field.
"I'm so happy for the seniors," said Miller. "For them to go out at home this way was great for them. This is something they'll always remember."
But Miller and the Buccaneers aren't done as they face unbeaten Mechanicsburg, the top seed in Region 24, next Friday at a site to be determined on Sunday.
"Next week we'll just go play our tails off and see what happens," he said. "That (playing hard) is what we can control and that's what we'll focus on."
It's worked so far, so there's no reason to change.