|Cory Ely grounded out the tough yards for the Buccs, reaching the 100-yard mark in the contest.
|Quarterback Isaiah Winston broke loose twice by making the right reads and allowing his athletic ability to take over.
By Henry Conte, Sports Editor - Troy Daily News
NOVEMBER 5, 2010 - COVINGTON
Nothing bothered Covington.
If it got a penalty? So what. If Ansonia scored? Who cares? If it committed a turnover or it started to snow? Big deal.
Nothing was going to get in the Buccaneers’ way of moving on to 11-0, and they proved that with a 49-6 drubbing of Ansonia at Smith Field Friday night in a Division VI, Region 24 quarterfinal.
The Buccs picked up 430 yards of rushing and held Brandon Liette the Cross County Conference Player of the Year to a 4.77 yards-per-carry average and left the rest of the Ansonia offense helpless.
“Not in a million years,” Covington coach Dave Miller said when asked if he imagined a win like this. “After the first game we played with them (28-21 Covington), their tradition, the players they have there … our kids just came ready to play.
“The effort they put forth was amazing. They did that to a very good football team. That is something to be proud of.”
But the way the Buccs did it was even more remarkable.
Early on, it was no big deal. The Buccs held Ansonia to a three-and-out and took a drive seven plays and 66 yards, capped on a 38-yard run by Isaiah Winston, who took a keeper up the middle, cut left and was gone, to make it 7-0.
Sam Earick picked off a Derek Bubeck pass on Ansonia’s next possession, but Winston ended up fumbling that away to give the Tigers possession at their own 29. As the Tigers (9-2) started to drive, it was obvious the game was in the hands of Liette, who gained 167 yards on 35 carries. He never carried the ball for more than 12 yards on any run and only gained 10-or-more yards twice.
“The defense was ready,” Miller said. “They read their keys and swarmed to the ball. They did a great job because Liette is a hard runner. It was a great team effort.”
The Buccs came up big again on defense, forcing a fourth-and-five interception by Dylan Owens.
Covington converted that possession with the first of Tyler Noffsinger’s many impressive runs. Noffsinger took an option pitch to the right, outran the man to the corner only to cut up the field and find no one there. He had to break a tackle at the 15 to get in, but the 52-yard run gave Covington a 14-0 advantage as Steven Blei made the second of his seven PATs on the night.
“I got great blocks,” Noffsinger said. “I give all the yards to my line (Brandon Powell, Sam Christian, Brian Olson, Blei and Ben Wilson). After that, I just keep my legs moving and just focused on one thing, the end zone.”
And then the Buccs began to roll.
Behind Noffsinger’s 217 yards on nine carries, the Buccaneer offense scored three more times in the second quarter, putting the game away by the half.
“We didn’t let anything get to us,” Noffsinger said. “We kept our heads up and we kept fighting.”
Noffsinger broke a 61-yard run right after a 15-yard penalty made it first-and-25, and Winston scored from 42 yards two plays after a penalty made it first-and-28 to make it 28-0.
“We wanted to win and go on,” Winston said of the reason the Buccs never got bogged down by mistakes.
Winston, making his first start at quarterback in the playoffs, said he was nervous going in, but his hard running made it look like he had done it all before.
“It was exciting, but I was pretty nervous,” Winston said. “It all went back to practice and the coaches always telling us to run as hard as you can.”
Ansonia finally got itself on the board when Liette threw a halfback pass to a wide-open Chris Walters for a 15-yard score, capping a 12-play, 65-yard drive with just 17 seconds remaining in the half.
Still, that didn’t matter to the Buccs as A.J. Oulette took the ensuing kickoff and handed it to Noffsinger who took it 80 yards to make it 35-6 at the half.
Last season against Ansonia in the playoffs, Noffsinger rushed for 198 yards on 11 carries, scored twice on the ground and threw a touchdown pass, as well.
“Both of those guys can run,” Miller said of Noffsinger and Winston (112 yards rushing and 34 yards passing). “Cory Ely (100 yards on 19 carries) is a different type of runner, but the offensive line did a great job. We always talk about the line getting us the first five yards and the backs taking over from there.”
While the Covington offense stalled on the first possession of the second half, it took the next two drives right down the field for scores.
The first came on a 69-yard run by Noffsinger to make it 42-6 and the second on a 5-yard sweep by Kyler Deeter with eight seconds left in the third quarter to make the finally tally 49-6.
Deeter’s touchdown run was a microcosm of the game for the Buccs, as the pitch was high and bounced on the frozen ground once, but he managed to control it and race to the outside to beat the Tigers to the pylon for the touchdown.
“We practiced really hard this week,” Noffsinger said. “We just came in with a great mindset.”
The Buccs will face Lehman (10-1) a 42-0 winner over Lockland in the second round of the playoffs next Friday night. The location is yet to be determined.
“We are ready for them,” Winston said.
Because to this team, it doesn’t really matter what happens. They’ll just move on to the next play.