|Freshman Ethan Herron carries an Ansonia defender for extra yards.
|Senior Logan Perkins and the offensive line had a huge night in sloppy conditions.
OCTOBER 31, 2014 - ANSONIA
Standing on Covington's sideline as the Buccs were in the process of wrapping up a 24-6 win over Ansonia, discussion behind the fence began in regards to the playoff possibilities for this Buccaneer team. Not knowing for sure if a playoff birth was secured, one Buccaneer fan put things into perspective.
"I've never seen a Covington team this young and have so many injuries," said the fan. "The fact that we are even in the discussion (for the playoffs) is unbelievable considering everything this team has been through. That man (Coach Miller) is the reason why we're even talking playoffs right now."
Coach Miller shies away from credit to himself, but doesn't hesitate to credit his kids.
And that's just what he did after his team gutted out a 24-6 win on a cold, windy night with snow blowing across the field throughout the contest.
"For what this team has been through and under the conditions, this was a great win," said Miller. "The kids earned it."
And Ansonia made Covington earn the win as the kids in Tiger uniforms played the type of hard-nosed football that has been a staple under longtime coach Eugene Hoening - a coach who was deservingly recognized after the game for capturing his 200th career win last week at Bethel.
"We have a lot of respect for them (Ansonia) and for what he has done over there," Miller said of Hoening. "You know when you go play Ansonia, you'd better be ready to play. They showed that on their first drive."
After Covington was forced to punt the ball away on the opening possession of the game, Ansonia waisted little time marching down the field and scoring on an 18-yard run to put the Tigers up 6-0 as the run for two points failed.
"They (Ansonia) scored right away and you know you are in for a fight," said Miller. "I liked the way the kids responded to the challenge."
Covington's response came on the ensuing possession as the Buccs marched methodically down the field and scored on a four-yard run by sophomore quarterback Nathan Blei. The kick for the point-after was caught in the gusty wind and bounced off the goal post to leave the score tied at 6-6.
The Buccaneers then got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff as Ethan Herron pounced on a loose ball to give Covington possession at the Tiger 34.
On the first offensive snap after the turnover, senior Brock Murphy found a crease off left tackle and raced 34 yards untouched for the score. The pass for two points failed and Covington held a 12-6 lead.
"We got the turnover on the pooch kick and that was a huge swing in momentum because Brock broke the big play right after that," said Miller.
The Buccaneer defense then took the field for the second time in the contest and forced the Tigers to punt.
From there the Buccaneer offense used another clock-eating drive to push the lead to 18-6 on a 12-yard run by freshman Ethan Herron.
Then, after holding the Tigers yet again on the ensuing possession, Covington took a knee to end the first half.
"After that first touchdown by them, I felt our defense played pretty well," Miller said. "They (Ansonia) got a few plays on us, but overall we played much better after the first quarter."
The second half began with snow flurries replacing the rain as the temperatures dropped and the winds picked up.
This made for sloppy field conditions as the turf turned to mud between the hashes.
It also made both teams rely on the ground game, which kept the clock moving in a fast second half.
And the Buccaneers were able to overcome the conditions with yet another time consuming drive that took up much of the third quarter. Ethan Herron capped the effort with a one-yard run to push Covington's lead to 24-6.
Which was all the points Covington would need as the defense kept Ansonia in check throughout the remainder of the contest to preserve the win.
"These were some tough conditions for both teams," Miller explained. "And we didn't turn the ball over, which is huge in a game like this."
Covington's ground game was the difference as the Buccs racked up 227 rushing yards to just 103 for Ansonia.
"Our backs ran hard, but a lot of credit goes to our O Line," Miller said. "When you can run the ball like that when they stack the box, that says a lot about the kids up front."
The win ends Covington's regular season at 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the CCC as it awaits the official word from the OHSAA on its playoff status.
All indications at this point seems to show the Buccaneers qualifying for the state playoffs for the tenth straight year and the nineteenth time in school history. It looks as though Covington may be the seventh seed in Region 26 and a road game against Lehman awaits next Saturday.