|Isaiah Winston runs for one of his two touchdowns on the night.
|Austin Angle leads the second unit to a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
OCTOBER 29, 2010 - UNION CITY
The Covington football program is no stranger to finishing the regular season unbeaten and qualifying the for the state playoffs.
But finishing 10-0 this season was extra special because of the adversity the team has faced, the close victories over New Bremen, Miami East and Tri-County North and the fact that it is the first unbeaten regular season for the Buccs since Dave Miller's first year as head coach in 2007.
"This (going 10-0) is a good reward for the kids," said Miller after his team dismantled Mississinawa Valley 59-20 in the season finale. "One of our goals coming into the season was to win the CCC championship and we've done that. Now we look forward to a new season."
The new season Miller is referring to is not 2011, but the state playoffs - something Covington will enjoy for the eleventh time in the past twelve seasons.
"The kids know, it gets tougher from here on out," Miller continued. "Our attitudes are good right now and the kids will come in tomorrow morning ready to improve."
In spite of a dominating performance, Miller saw things his team can improve upon as Mississinawa Valley had some success with its passing game.
Gary Peace led the Blackhawks to a touchdown on the opening possession of the contest, throwing the ball all over the field and capping the drive with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Cody Evans.
"That number five (Peace) is a very good athlete," praised Miller. "He was able to get to the outside on us and make plays down the field, but I felt our kids adjusted pretty good after they scored."
Peace tossed the ball up 32 times in the contest and completed 16, but Covington intercepted three of the passes for the only turnovers in the contest.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneer special teams and offensive units took over the game, first on an 83-yard kickoff return by Tyler Noffsinger and then a 10-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Winston to Gabe Mohler.
A short two-yard scoring run by Noffsinger gave the Buccaneers a 22-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
"We played well overall on special teams," Miller said. "We had the return their by Noff (Noffisnger) and a long field goal later by Steven (Blei)."
Covington opened the second quarter with a 19-yard scoring jaunt by Winston, but Peace caught the Buccaneer defense off guard with a 55-yard run to close the gap to 29-12.
The Buccs responded with a 65-yard touchdown on a halfback pass from Noffsinger to Corey Haines and then another 19-yard run by Winston to push the lead to 42-12 at the break.
Covington began the second half with a 28-yard run to pay dirt by Noffsinger and followed with a 36-yard field goal by Steven Blei to push the lead to 52-12 as the junior varsity unit entered the game.
"Our offensive line played very well," Miller said. "They played physical and blew people off the ball."
Peace would have his final say on an impressive evening for the Blackhawks as he scooted his way from 26 yards out, darting and dashing through the Buccaneer defense in an amazing display of footwork.
But Covington would have the final say as the junior varsity unit moved the ball down the field in impressive fashion. Freshman Dalton Bordelon was the workhorse on the drive, rushing six times for 34 yards and capping the drive with his first varsity touchdown from one-yard out.
This gave Covington the 59-20 victory to seal the perfect 10-0 season and claim the outright conference championship.
"This is a good win for our football team," Miller said. "We didn't have any turnovers, which was good to see. The only other game this year we didn't turn the ball over I believe was against Bethel."
Covington will host the opening round playoff game next Friday and although the final seeds won't be out until Sunday, the opponent appears to be Ansonia.
"We'll have to be ready, no matter who it is," said Miller. "It's a new season now."
Ansonia and Covington are very familiar with each other as the Tigers beat the Buccs on Smith Field last season and then lost to Covington in the first round of the state playoffs on their home field.
The tables have turned this year as Covington beat the Tigers two weeks ago at Ansonia. The Buccs are hoping for a clean sweep of their CCC rivals this year.