|Tyler Noffsinger reached the 1000-yard mark for the season.
OCTOBER 23, 2009 - ARCANUM
Adversity is something the Covington Buccaneers have been facing head on for the past couple of years, whether it's injuries or untimely defeats. But each time the Buccs have managed to circle the wagons and respond in a big way.
Friday was no different as Covington regrouped from a disappointing effort last week against Ansonia to throttle Arcanum 41-6 and remain in playoff contention in Region 24 with a 6-3 record.
"This was a good response to a tough situation," said Covington coach Dave Miller. "We could have went one of two ways (after losing to Ansonia) but the kids picked the right way. We played extremely hard tonight."
The ring leader was sophomore quarterback Isaiah Winston, who threw two perfect strikes to Garrett Clark from 53 yards and 40 yards out to help Covington build a 20-6 halftime lead.
"Each week Isaiah adds something to his game," Miller praised of his quarterback. "Tonight it was in the passing game. He threw some really nice passes."
Winston also executed the offense to near perfection - the only mishap being a fumbled handoff. He even faked out the officials on a keeper off the option as they blew the whistle as Winston still had the ball while heading up field for an apparent long gain.
"His execution has improved greatly each week," said Miller. "Effort wise, he always plays hard and now he's becoming more comfortable within the offense. That's a credit to him and the type of kid he is. He's so much fun to coach because he does what we ask of him."
Winston wasn't the only Buccaneer to have a big game as it was an entire team effort.
While Arcanum strategically focused on taking away the fullback, Tyler Noffsinger burnt the Trojans for 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
"They (Arcanum) was so focused on shutting down the fullback, we just took what they gave us - the outside," Miller explained. "And Isaiah did a great job of making the reads and Noff (Noffsinger) just used his speed to get outside. Our line did a nice job of opening up holes and blocking down the field."
Covington opened the contest with a 2-yard touchdown run by Garrett Clark on the opening possession of the game and then built the lead to 13-0 on the 53-yards pass from Winston to Clark.
But the Trojan offense responded with a long touchdown drive by picking up chunks of yardage right up the middle.
Winston's second touchdown pass to Clark pushed the cushion to 20-6 at the break, but the defensive performance in the first half was something of a concern for the Buccaneers.
"There were some assignment issues in the first half that we had to address at halftime," Miller explained. "Once we addressed them and got it corrected, we played much better in the second half."
Which was evident on the scoreboard as Covington's defense shut out Arcanum in the final two quarters. Plus, the Buccs forced four Arcanum fumbles, while Teddy Hale, Jordy Meyer, Ben Christian and Cory Ely combined for five sacks on the night.
Hale also blocked a punt that Josh Boehringer scooped up and returned deep into Arcanum territory.
"Our kids tackled much better tonight (than against Ansonia)," Miller said. "And Arcanum came right after us. Their kids played hard, but our defense stepped things up in the second half.'
It all led to 21 unanswered second half points on a 3-yard touchdown run by Clark and two scoring runs by Tyler Noffsinger, a 46-yarder and an 18-yard jaunt.
"Tyler had a nice night," said Miller of Noffsinger, who now has 1000 yards on 105 carries this season. "Good for him to reach 1000 yards."
Also, good for the offensive line, who leads the way for the Buccaneer backs.
"We have two backs now with 1000 (Clark and Noffsinger)," Miller continued. "That's a credit to those guys up front. We're not about individual stats because it takes a team effort to accomplish those things."
It also takes a team effort to respond to adversity, which is what Covington did Friday night.
Hopefully it continues next Friday in the regular season finale against Mississinawa Valley at Smith Field in Covington.
And should the cards fall right for the Buccs, there could be a week eleven.