|Dalton Bordelon celebrates a defensive stop for Covington.
|Austin Angle runs down the sideline after catching a first quarter pass.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 - BRADFORD
The Covington - Bradford rivalry took on a whole new meaning Friday as both teams entered the game unbeaten at 3-0. Anticipation was high with a packed house at Bradford's Warner Field, which included the presence of the commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Dan Ross.
As a result, the emotion of the field was at an all-time high prior to kickoff.
And once Bradford kicked off to Covington - who won the toss and elected to receive - the tone of the game was established from the outset.
"We controlled the game up front," said a pleased Covington coach Dave Miller. "The line of scrimmage was where this game was played."
And Covington took the opening possession the length of the field, only passing once on a quick strike from Trent Tobias to Austin Angle. Senior halfback Troy Cron capped the effort with a 10-yard run thanks to a very nice seal block by junior tackle Jacob Albright.
The extra point attempt by Bobby Alexander was true and Covington held a 7-0 lead out of the shoot.
But Bradford has offensive weapons too, and senior tailback James Canan is as good as it gets in the Cross County Conference.
It took the ensuing kickoff and two plays for Canan to break loose and surpass 1000 yards on the young season with a 63-yard jaunt to the end zone - bringing the Bradford faithful into a frenzy.
"We got sucked inside," said Covington coach Dave Miller of the play. "We worked on that all week and didn't maintain our discipline. He's a darn good back and he makes you pay in the open field when you don't stay discipline."
Covington wouldn't make that mistake again and held Canan to just 70 yards the rest of the way.
"Other than a couple of plays, we controlled the game defensively," Miller said. "Our kids flew to the football."
And the Covington offense was just as dominant as it scored in every possession in the first half but one to take a 42-6 lead at the break.
First, A.J. Ouellette broke loose from 65 yards out and Kyler Deeter followed with a nine-yard touchdown run.
Ouellette then scored three more times in the first half on runs of 39, 44 and one yard as Covington went into the locker room with the outcome of the game in hand.
"The key for us was responding there after Canan's touchdown," Miller explained. "They had all the momentum and it was pivotal we come right back and score. The kids did a good job of putting that one play behind them and staying focused on what we had to do."
The focus never wavered in the second half as the Covington defense forced a punt on Bradford's first possession.
And the offense kept clicking as Troy Cron capped another impressive drive with a 25-yard run to push he lead to 49-6.
The Buccs then put the icing on the cake with a 70-yard run by Ouellete for his fifth touchdown of the night to make the score 56-6 as the junior varsity kids took over.
Even though individual stats are not the top priority for the Covington football team, the offensive line and the rest of the offensive team assisted Ouellette in gaining 324 yards on the ground. This rankes second for a single game in school history behind Matt McCord's 334 set back in 2003.
And Miller gave credit where credit is due - to his kids for a nice week of practice.
"We had one of our better weeks of preparation this week," he said. "Monday and Thursday, we have mastered those days. Tuesday and Wednesday weren't bad, but they still aren't our better days. If we can master those two days, we can be a bear."
Covington's interior line was a bear on both sides of the ball on Friday as the Buccs racked up 537 yards of offense to just 186 for Bradford. The Buccs also dominated in the run game, 519-150.
"When you start looking at the stats, they speak for themselves," said Miller. "That (Bradford) is a good team running the football and other than one or two plays, we shut it down. On the flip side, our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. That was the key."
Which is why the Buccs improve to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the CCC and look forward to another huge challenge next week at Tri-Couny North.