|Tyler Noffsinger scored four times, including on this 85-yard kickoff return.
|Junior quarterback Isaiah Winston executed the offense to near perfection.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 - BRADFORD
It was standing room only at Bradford Friday night for the 66th meeting between two unbeaten teams, Covington and the host Railroaders.
And after four quarters of football the visiting Buccaneers claimed a 56-22 victory to improve it's advantage in the series, 52-11-3.
"Both teams came ready to play and played hard," said Covington coach Dave Miller. "We'll have to look at the film to get a better assessment, but I felt our effort was really good tonight."
Covington opened the contest with the ball, but was forced to punt after failing to convert a first down in three straight plays.
But the Buccs received a huge break early, forcing a Bradford fumble on the return deep in Railroader territory.
Moments later fullback Cory Ely plowed his way in from the one to give the Buccs a 7-0 lead after the point-after by Steven Blei.
"That (the fumble) was big," Miller said. "Anytime you can get on top of a team early, it's big."
Bradford failed to move the ball on its next possession and Covington waisted little time putting another touchdown on the board.
Ely set things up with a 55-yard run inside the Bradford 15 and then scored from six yards out to push Covington's lead to 14-0 midway through the opening frame.
The senior fullback ended the game with 224 yards on the ground on 24 carries.
"Cory ran hard," said Miller. "All our backs ran hard, but I felt our line controlled the game up front. Sam Christian in particular. He just destroyed people tonight."
Bradford had its moments and the first one came on its ensuing possession as junior scat back Johnahan Barbee broke a long run into Covington territory and then weaved his way through the Buccaneer defense for an 18-yard touchdown run.
The extra point attempt was blocked by Covington's Josh Boehringer, but Bradford had gotten its crowd into the game and appeared to have turned the tide.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as Tyler Noffsinger took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to the house to give Covington a 21-6 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Covington then took over the game over the remainder of the half, scoring on two more Noffsinger runs - one from 11 yards out and another on a 76-yard dash.
Noffsinger ended up scoring four touchdowns in the game and rushed for 157 yards on just nine carries to go along with his 85-yard kickoff return.
"Like I said, our backs ran hard, but a lot of our success was due to the play of our quarterback (Isaiah Winston)," said Miller. "He executed the offense very well tonight, making the right reads. He struggled last week (against Bethel) and made a concerted effort this week in practice to correct that."
Winston's prowess running the triple option was on display early in the third quarter. He faked out the Bradford defense, who had clamped down on fullback Cory Ely, thinking he had the ball, only to see Winston break a 25-yard run to put Covington in position for another score.
This set up Noffsinger's fourth touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run to push the Covington lead to 42-6.
But Bradford would not surrender. Showing character and competitive desire, the Railroaders put together two straight scoring drives. Both resulted in touchdown passes by freshman quarterback Brandon Wysong, the first an 18 yarder to James Canan and then a four-yard pass to Austin Sell.
Suddenly, Bradford was within striking distance as the third quarter came to a close, 42-22.
"I give them (Bradford) credit because they kept fighting and never quit," Miller praised. "Curtis (Enis) is trying to build a program over there and he has his kids playing hard for him. That's half the battle right there. I wish them the best from here on out."
Like it did earlier in the game, Covington took the momentum right back on a well executed drive that resulted in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Winston to sophomore Troy Cron.
Moments later Covington closed the show on the 56-22 victory with a nine-yard touchdown run by another sophomore, Alex Baskerville.
To go along with the victory, Covington made a little school history by racking up 525 yards on the ground, which is the third best total in school history. Only the 1965 game against Graham that resulted in 548 yards and the 1999 contest against Mississinawa Valley that tallied 534 yards ranks above tonight's rushing totals.
With the victory Covington remains unbeaten at 3-0 and 2-0 in the CCC, while Bradford drops to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
Covington travels to Tri-County North next week and Bradford travels to face the defending CCC Champions, the unbeaten Tigers from Ansonia.