|Freshman Noah Thomas looks for running room in the open field.
|A.J. Ouellette breaks loose on an 89-yard punt return.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2012 - COVINGTON
In a highly anticipated matchup, the Covington Buccaneers rolled big over Bethel in a game that started on Friday and ended Saturday night by the score of 55-0.
And it was starting fast on Friday, then pickup up where they left off on Saturday after a storm delay that made Buccaneer coach Dave Miller happy with his kids.
"That was a challenge for us," said Miller in regards to the game being delayed midway through the first quarter after a heavy thunderstorm came through Friday night with Covington leading 20-0. "A lot of times you see a completely different game after a delay like that, but our kids came back today with the same intensity we had last night. That shows character."
Senior Troy Cron got things started for Covington on the opening kickoff by plowing over a Bethel defender and returning the kick for a school record 99 yards for the score.
After forcing a three-and-out on Bethel's first drive, quarterback Trent Tobias took the first offensive snap for Covington and raced 52 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
As the rain began to pour, Covington's defense forced another Bethel punt. Four plays later Tobias scored again, this time on a 34-yard run to make the score 20-0 as the point-after-attempt was wide to the right.
From there, lightening ended matters on Friday and the two teams returned on Saturday to pick up where they left off.
And it was another big play by Covington that set the tone as the Buccaneer defense forced a Bethel punt and A.J. Ouellette returned the ball 89 yards to the end zone for a 27-0 lead.
"The two returns on special teams were huge," Miller said. "They gave us a spark."
And it was still just the first quarter.
"Bethel is a good team and well coached, but it's hard to come back from being down like that," said Miller.
And Covington didn't give the Bees the chance, even when Bethel hit a big pass play to move the ball to the one with first-and-goal. The Buccaneer defense stuffed Bethel on three straight plays and then forced an incomplete pass on fourth down to end the threat.
"That defensive stand there was special," explained Miller. "They got the big play on us, but the kids put it behind them and focused on the next play."
Covington then drove 99 yards to push the lead to 34-0, capping the drive with a seven-yard run by Kyler Deeter.
Another touchdown run by Ouellette, this time from 19 yards out, pushed the lead to 41-0 at the half.
"I thought we did a nice job up front controlling the line of scrimmage," Miller said. "We knew coming in that we had to come off the ball low and hard in order to have success and the kids did that."
Covington's varsity unit capped an impressive effort with one more touchdown by Ouellette early in the third quarter and then turned the game over to the younger kids.
And the youngsters kept the intensity going as Chance Setters raced 49 yards for the touchdown and the defense held Bethel inside the five as the clock ticked away to preserve the shutout.
"This was an entire team effort, from top to bottom," praised Miller. "That's as physical as we've played all year and it was everyone, not just our starters. The younger guys showed a lot of heart and passion with the defensive stand there at the end."
And Miller credits his team's leadership for the "team effort", leadership he has been looking for since the beginning of the summer.
"Overall, I've seen more leadership in the past few days than I've seen all summer," he explained. "We have kids who are starting to take ownership of this team. If we can improve on our leadership, we can definitely go places. That's the one piece to the puzzle that I truly believe will allow us to max out in our potential."
Maxing out in its potential is what Covington did Friday and Saturday.