|Kyler Deeter heads around the corner for a touchdown.
|Darren Clark and the Buccs raise their helmets after an unbeaten regular season.
OCTOBER 28, 2011 - ARCANUM
In spite of sealing their second straight 10-0 regular season, second straight Cross County Conference title and tenth title in the last thirteen years - plus securing the twelfth playoff birth in thirteen seasons - their wasn't much celebration for the Covington Buccaneers after a 34-0 win over Arcanum on Friday.
"That's probably because this was such a physical game," explained Covington coach Dave Miller as to why his team wasn't animated after the win. "I know the kids are excited about what they did (finishing 10-0), but they know there is more to do. They're looking forward to the next challenge."
That challenge is the state playoffs. By all indications the Buccs have locked down the fourth seed in Region 20 and will host the first round game against an opponent that's to be determined.
"We're not sure who we'll face," Miller said. "There's always speculation that we'll see this team or that team, but we won't know for sure until probably Sunday."
Until then the Buccs will review the film from Friday's season finale against Arcanum. And you can be assured Miller saw plenty of things his team needs to work on.
"Definitely," Miller agreed. "We weren't very sharp offensively in the first half and I know a lot of that was on me. They threw some things at us defensively that I wasn't expecting and I didn't do a very good job of making the adjustments in my play calling."
Still, Covington's defense was stellar all night, keeping Arcanum off the board and giving the Buccs great field position in the first half.
The short field for the Buccs resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Trent Tobias in the first quarter to give Covington a 7-0 lead.
But Covingon fumbled on their its possession as the offense was in the process of moving the ball into scoring range in the second quarter.
"We turned the ball over there in the first half when we were driving and I think that gave them some momentum," Miller explained. "Fortunately for us, our defense stepped up and kept them off the board."
Leading 7-0 to start the second half, Covington finally got the big play it needed. Junior fullback Alex Baskerville found a crease up the middle and raced 82 yards for the score and a 13-0 lead as a mid-handled snap on the point-after attempt prevented the extra point.
"We hit the big play there by Alex and I think that got us going offensively," Miller said. "You don't want to rely on big plays to get you going, but that came at a good time."
Because it not only sparked the Covington offense, it added fuel to the fire for the Buccaneer defense, which gave the offense the ball back with a three-and-out.
And the offense took advantage with a well executed drive that was capped by a five-yard run by Kyler Deeter.
Steven Blei made true on the extra point attempt to push Covington's lead to 20-0 with one quarter to play.
"Defensively we controlled the line of scrimmage and I think that was critical," said Miller. "They do some nice things offensively and the key for us was controlling them up front."
The Covington defense continued to come through in the fourth quarter as Sam Earick picked off a Trojan pass near midfield.
Covington's offense then picked up where it left off, driving the ball methodically down the field and putting the ball in the end zone on a five-yard run by Isaiah Winston.
"Isaiah wasn't feeling very good," Miller said of his senior quarterback-slash-slot back. "He had some stomach issues there and was throwing up. But he sucked it up and played hard."
After another defensive stop, the Buccs put an exclamation point on a solid effort with one final drive to pay dirt.
Trent Tobias walked in from a yard out for his second touchdown of the night and Steven Blei drilled the extra point to make the final score 34-0.
"This was a tough win," said Miller. "They (Arcanum) had a lot riding on this game with senior night and the possibility of getting into the playoffs, so they gave us their best shot. They are scrappy and they came after us."
Covington took all the Trojans could give and methodically put together an impressive effort.
And even though individual statistics don't mean much in the grand scheme of things for the Buccaneers, the 177-yard performance by Alex Baskerville put him over 1,000 yards on the season.
"That's a nice accomplishment by Alex, but he'll be the first to tell you that his line had a lot to do with that," said Miller.
Still, its not about individual numbers for the Buccs, but team numbers.
And the most important number is 10-0 and a home game in the state playoffs.
"It's a new challenge and a new season," Miller said of the playoffs. "We'll give it our best shot."
Which will happen next Friday against an opponent that's still to be determined.