|Jake Stewart returns a punt 53 yards for the touchdown.
OCTOBER 8, 2010 - COVINGTON
There were no smiles in the Covington locker room - even after a 54-21 victory over winless National Trail on Friday.
That's because the Buccs allowed National Trail's Joey Simpson to rush for 148 yards and Adam Bartle to gain 136 yards on the ground. In all, Covington surrendered a total of 341 yards and gave up 21 points.
"Defensively, we are not playing very well," said Covington coach Dave Miller. "To give up over 300 yards of offense is unacceptable."
Covington was without four-year starter Josh Boehringer, but Miller won't accept that as an excuse for his team's performance on defense.
"Granted, we didn't have Josh, but one guy shouldn't make that much of a difference," he said. "We play a team next week (Ansonia) that is 50 times better offensively than what we saw tonight, so that concerns me with the way we are playing right now. We have to play much better than this."
Fortunately for the Buccs, the offense and special teams units were on.
Covington scored three touchdowns in the first 2:40 of the game to take a 20-0 lead. Quarterback Isaiah Winston was involved in all three scores, two on touchdown runs of 48 and five yards and the other a 26-yard pass to Kyler Deeter.
Winston was stellar on offense, tallying 128 rushing yards on 8 carries, scoring three rushing touchdowns and throwing for two more - all in the first half.
But National Trail responded with a three-play drive of its own that resulted in a 27-yard jaunt by Adam Bartle, who hit the edge and outraced the Covington secondary to the corner of the end zone.
"They were getting to the outside on us way too much," Miller explained.
The Buccaneer offense continued to roll, however, as freshman A.J. Ouellette plowed his way in for a three-yard touchdown run and then Cory Ely broke free up the middle of the Blazer defense for a 21-yard touchdown.
At the break Covington led 47-7, but National Trail outscored Covington 14-7 in the final two quarters.
First, Jake Stewart opened the second half for Covington with a 53-yard return of a punt for the score. Stewart received outstanding blocks from sophomore Dylan Owens and freshman A.J. Ouellette on the play.
But that was the final highlight of the evening for the Buccs, who had racked up 439 yards on the ground and 507 yards of total offense.
National Trail wasn't done though as Adam Bartle scored two more times, once on a 15-yard touchdown reception from Ben Ballinger and then a 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't enough to catch Covington on the scoreboard, but it was enough to give Coach Miller a reason for concern heading into next week's showdown with unbeaten Ansonia.
"It is what it is, a win," he said in regards to the game. "We have a lot of things to correct on the defensive side of the ball before next week. I probably won't get any sleep this week."
One thing that may help Miller sleep better is the fact that his team came out of the game without any injuries.
And, hopefully Boehringer can make his way back to the field. If so, it can only help the defense, which will need to bring its "A Game" against Ansonia.