|Sam Christian celebrates recovering a Viking fumble.
|Isaiah Winston twists and turns his way into the end zone for Covington first touchdown of the game.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 - CASSTOWN
Covington and Miami East have a long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1959 and the two Cross County Conference powerhouses hooked up for the fiftieth time Friday in a mid-season battle with huge conference and playoff implications.
And it was the visiting Buccaneers that improved to 6-0 on the season and 5-0 in the CCC with a hard-fought 19-0 win, while Miami dropped to 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the league.
"Great win over a very fine football team," said Covington coach Dave Miller. I'm so proud of our kids. They played their tails off and put forth a great team effort - a great defensive effort."
Miami East also put forth a great effort in defeat. The game had a playoff atmosphere and was four quarters of physical football that for the most part was played cleanly by both teams.
"It was a clean game other than one penalty by us where we didn't keep our cool," Miller explained. "Miami East has a classy football team. They just play hard, physical football and that's a direct reflection of Max (Current) and his coaching staff. What a great bunch of guys."
Under sloppy field conditions due to the heavy rains throughout the week, neither team could get much offense going in the first twelve minutes - although both teams had chances to put points on the board.
Covington used a long run by Isaiah Winston to move the ball inside the Vikings twenty, but the Miami East defense stiffened to ward off the threat.
The Vikings took over on downs and immediately went to the air in an attempt at a big play. With a receiver open behind the Buccaneer defense, the throw was off the mark.
"They were able to get some stuff on us early and missed on a couple of plays there that could have hurt," Miller said. "But the kids made some nice adjustments and took those plays away."
It wasn't until the second quarter when Covington finally broke the ice on a 12-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Winston, capping an impressive drive. On the play, the senior found a crease up the middle and hurdled two Viking defenders to reach pay dirt.
Covington then held Miami East on the ensuing possession and appeared to be on its way toward another score as it moved the ball deep into Viking territory once again.
But Viking linebacker Dalas Thompson made a heads-up play by stepping in front of a Winston pass and killing the drive with an interception.
Miami East then moved the methodically down the field and benefitted from a personal foul penalty by Covington inside the Buccaneer twenty. Three plays later Trent Tobias picked off a Viking pass in the end zone to keep the score 7-0 at the half.
"The goal-line stand there at the end of the half was huge," said Miller. "If they score, they have all of the momentum at the half - knowing they get the ball to start the second half. We got the pick and went into the locker room up 7-0, which gave us the momentum."
Covington took advantage of the momentum, stopping Miami East on its first possession of the second half and then scoring on a 60-yard run by Trent Tobias.
The point-after attempt went off the crossbar to make the score 13-0 in favor of Covington.
"We had some things that didn't go our way, but the kids kept battling," Miller said.
A huge play early in the fourth quarter didn't go Covington's way as Isaiah Winston broke loose from 55 yards out, but the score was taken off the board due to a holding penalty.
"We made some mistakes," Miller said. "Yes, it was tough field conditions, which made it hard to keep our feet, but mistakes like that hurt."
Still, the Buccs received some breaks too.
One huge break came on a tipped Trent Tobias pass at the line of scrimmage that landed into the hands of Covington's Kyler Deeter, who ran 57 yards untouched for the score to push the lead to 19-0.
"Another big play there (by Deeter)," said Miller.
With the clock not on the side of Miami East, it had to go to the air in an attempt to work out a miracle with under 2:00 to go.
But one final play by the Buccaneer defense sealed the game as Troy Cron intercepted a Colton Bowling pass and returned the theft into Viking territory.
"This was a great defensive effort on our part," said Miller after his team held a potent Miami East offense to just 185 yards of total offense.
With victory in hand, Covington then went into "Victory Formation" and kneeled on the ball to kill the clock.
"I can't say enough about how proud I am of these kids," Miller emphasized. "We faced some adversity and kept playing. This was a very gratifying win over a very good and well coached football team."
Covington looks to take another step forward next week as it hosts Twin Valley South, while Miami East travels to Tri-County North in another huge Cross County Conference showdown between potential playoff teams.