|Freshman Deron White finds a huge hole to run through during the junior varsity portion of the scrimmage against Versailles.
AUGUST 23, 2014 - COVINGTON
Covington coach Dave Miller couldn't be happier with the quality of competition his team sees in the three scrimmages - competition that he feels prepares his team very well for the upcoming season.
"Milton, Eaton and Versailles, you can't ask for better scrimmages to get you ready for the season," said Miller. "These scrimmages are good for us because all three are very good programs and we come away with things we need to work on."
And Versailles gave the Buccs plenty of things to work on with one week left to prepare for the season opener at St. Henry next Friday.
"Oh yes, there's a lot of things we need to shore up," Miller agreed. "Some of that is coaching too. We need make some adjustments as coaches in what we are teaching in our pass defense."
Covington won the three-quarter scrimmage on the scoreboard 42-27, but the score is misleading when you consider one of the Buccaneer touchdowns came on a blocked punt that shouldn't have happened because there was suppose to be no rushing the kickers or punters.
"That one shouldn't have counted," Miller said. "I liked the effort, but we weren't suppose to do that."
Where Versailles hurt the Buccs the most was through the air as senior quarterback Nick Campbell connected on several long passes to his tall receivers against the Covington secondary.
"Those are on me and I told the kids that," Miller said. "Looking at it, it's just techniques we need to address. We were in position to make plays on the ball, but didn't use the correct technique. That's what's good about a scrimmage with a team like Versailles, they give you things you see that you can improve on and I'm confident we'll get those technique issues corrected."
What did please Miller in regards to defense was the run defense and the effort across the board from the significant amount of kids he rotated in and out of the lineup.
"I felt our kids got after it pretty good," praised Miller. "Our effort was pretty good across the board. We flew to the football pretty well."
Offensively, it didn't take Covington long to get rolling as A.J. Ouellette broke loose around the right end on the second offensive play and raced 70 yards down the Versailles sideline for the score.
After holding Versailles to a three-and-out, Ouellette took the first play of Covington's second possession and broke free again from 70 yards away.
"We'll take a touchdown any way we can get it, but I like to see us move the chains and eat up clock," Miller said.
The Covington defense appeared to hold Versailles on its next possession, but Covington gave the Tigers new life with a roughing the passer penalty. The Tigers took advantage as Campbell connected with his receiver on a long touchdown pass that put the ball at the one.
A few plays later Campbell powered his way in to cut the Buccaneer lead to 14-7.
But Covington responded by giving Miller the type of drive he was looking for - a clock-eating, ground-and-pound drive that was capped with a short touchdown run by Ouellette.
"We did some nice things offensively," Miller said. "I felt our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part. That drive was an indication of that."
Covington had another drive going early in the second quarter, but turned the ball over via fumble as the Buccaneer ball carrier was fighting for extra yards.
"The one thing offensively that we need to address is protecting the football," Miller explained. "I like the effort our backs gave fighting for extra yards, but we have to protect the football. We put the ball on the ground three or four times tonight and that will come back to bite us if we don't shore that up."
Versailles took advantage of the miscue in four plays as Campbell once again connected for a long touchdown pass to make the score 21-14.
Putting the last play behind them, which is what Miller preaches to his team all of the time, the Buccs marched down the field once again and Ouellette capped the drive with a 40-yard run - a run in which he broke several tackles and lost a t-shirt in the process.
Not to be denied, Versailles gave itself some momentum with yet another Nick Campbell touchdown pass.
Covington again turned the ball over via fumble, but the defense responded and forced the Tigers to punt - a punt that was blocked by and returned for a score and a 35-21 lead that stood until the half.
Versailles received the first possession of the second half and took just three plays to reach pay dirt thanks to the arm of Nick Campbell.
"Their quarterback is as good as it gets," said Miller of Campbell.
With the scrimmage turning into a track meet, the Buccs slowed the pace of the game down on its next possession - converting on two straight fourth down attempts before being forced to punt for the first time in the scrimmage.
But Versailles possession didn't last long as A.J. Ouellette stripped the ball from a Tiger runner and James Grilliott scooped up the ball for a 50-yard fumble return inside the Versailles ten.
From there, the Buccs capped the varsity portion of the scrimmage with a short touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Jared Williams.
"Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the way things turned out," said Miller. "We came out of this healthy and saw a lot of things we can improve on this week in practice. We're not where we need to be by any means and the kids are fully aware of that. There's a lot of areas where we need to get better because we'll face a very stiff test next week."
And that's the season-opener at St. Henry.