|Dylan Owens returns an interception into Covington territory in the first half.
AUGUST 26, 2011 - NEW BREMEN
Covington coach Dave Miller knows his team has the potential to be a very good football team, but inconsistency has been the one aspect of the game that has prevented to Buccs from reaching the level Miller hopes his team can achieve.
And even after an impressive 43-20 victory over New Bremen to open the season, the Buccs still haven't mastered a consistent effort for four quarters.
"It's a nice win to start the season over a good football team, but we still have some things we need to shore up," Miller said. "We started out slow and looked sluggish on both sides of the ball."
The slow start by Covington resulted into a New Bremen touchdown on the opening drive of the contest.
"We them stopped and they popped one on us on an iso," Miller explained. "We had some missed tackles there and they took advantage of it."
Covington struggle to get its own offense going over the entire first quarter and it wasn't until early in the second quarter until the Buccs broke the ice with a 34-yard field goal by Steven Blei.
"We didn't look very crisp offensively in the first half," said Miller. "We had some missed reads when things were there for us. It took us a awhile to get things going offensively."
When Covington did get the offense rolling, New Bremen had trouble stopping the Buccs' triple option attack.
The scoring onslaught started with a 15-yard touchdown strike from Buccaneer quarterback Isaiah Winston to Troy Cron to make the score 9-6 after the point-after attempt was off the mark.
Covington's defense recorded a big play on the ensuing New Bremen possession as Gabe Mohler put the pressure on the Cardinal quarterback and forced a poor throw that landed in the waiting arms of Dylan Owens.
A few play later Winston broke free down the Covington sideline from 20 yards out to push the Buccaneer lead to 16-6 at the break.
"We played pretty well defensively after the opening drive," Miller said. "The Westerbeck kid and Clune kid are as good of players we've seen so far and we did a nice job of shutting them down in the first half."
Covington took the opening possession of the second half and scored on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Winston to A.J. Ouellette, who got behind the New Bremen defense and outran the secondary to the end zone.
Steven Blei made good on the extra point to push the lead to 22-6.
But the momentum switch in a hurry after the Buccaneer defense forced a punt and Covington began moving the ball methodically down the field as quarterback Isaiah Winston got caught under a pile and bent backwards by the Cardinal defense.
"We faced some adversity there with Isaiah going down," said Miller. "But you have to keep playing."
With Winston being checked by the trainers on the sideline, New Bremen forced a Covington punt and followed with a 26-yard touchdown run by Elliot Westerbeck to cut the margin to 22-14 after the two-point conversion.
Trent Tobias entered behind center to replace Winston and the Covington offense kept rolling as A.J. Ouellette capped another impressive Buccaneer drive with an 8-yard run.
On the first play of New Bremen's next possession, Ouellete picked off a Westerbeck pass and returned the theft 36 yards for the score and a 36-14 Buccaneer lead.
But once again, the tied turned as Cole Owens, Dylan Owens and Gabe Mohler found themselves on the sidelines with injuries.
"Our depth was tested tonight," sighed Miller. "But the younger kids stepped up and played pretty well."
Not before New Bremen struck with another quick score, this time a 33-yard pass from Westerbeck to Clune to cut the Buccaneer lead to 36-20 with just under 7:00 to go.
"They (New Bremen) are a scrappy team," Miller praised. "They just kept coming."
And so did Covington as the Buccs pounced on an on-side kick at their own 40 and put the ball into Alex Baskerville's hands.
The junior fullback carried the ball for seven straight plays and reached pay dirt on a five-yard run to seal the 43-20 win.
"We just kept calling it (the same play) until they stopped it," Miller explained. "And they didn't stop it. Our line drove people off the ball and Trent (Tobias) kept making the right read. Alex ran hard and we were able to pretty much end it right there."
Covington racked up 331 yards of offense and held New Bremen to 236 yards and forced four turnovers.
It all led to a 43-20 season opening win with Mississinawa Valley coming to town to open Cross County Conference play next Friday.