|Sophomore Adam Left fires off the ball against the Viking defense.
|Freshman Ethan Herron attempts to pass on Friday against Miami East.
OCTOBER 10, 2014 - COVINGTON
The Covington Buccaneers hosted Miami East on Friday for homecoming with four straight wins and three straight shutouts over the Vikings.
But that streak would end as Miami East handed the Buccaneers a 20-0 defeat, shutting out Covington for the first time since 1991. It was also the first shutout win over Covington by any team since Coldwater did it in 2010 in the state playoffs.
"Big win," said Miami East coach Max Current. "I thought our defense played a whale of a game."
For Covington, it had several opportunities to put points on the board, but just couldn't make the plays it needed to cross the goal line.
And the first opportunity came on the opening drive of the game as Covington drove the ball to the Viking two. But on fourth and goal, and after a Covington timeout, a Buccaneer lineman was late getting back to the field, which forced the play to be rushed with the play clock running down. With no time to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage, the play was sniffed out by the Viking defense two yards short of the goal line.
"We're young, but that's no excuse," said Covington coach Dave Miller, who had to burn all three of his first half timeouts in the opening drive. "We had a play call (during the timeout) and changed it once we saw how they (Miami East) were lined up, which is why one of our kids wasn't on the field."
Miami East took over the ball and drove the length of the field for the first score of the game on a one-yard run by Colton McKinney to start the second quarter. On the drive the Vikings converted three third-and-long plays to keep the drive alive.
Covington took the short kick by Miami East on the ensuing possession and returned the ball near midfield.
The Buccs then moved the ball methodically down the field and faced a second-and-six situation at the Vikings six.
Trying to surprise Miami East, Covington attempted a rare pass that was picked off by Colton McKinney on a shoestring catch in the end zone.
"That's on me," said Miller. "I put Nathan (Blei) in a tough situation. We had the ball at the six and we should have kept it on the ground there."
Miami East took over the ball at its own 20, but the Covington defense held the Vikings in check as the two teams went into the locker room with the scoreboard showing a score of 7-0 in favor of the visitors.
The Vikings received the opening kickoff of the second half and waisted little time reaching pay dirt as Kurt Brower broke several tackles en route to a 59-yard touchdown run through the heart of the Covington defense to push the Miami East lead to 14-0.
"Our backs ran hard," praised Current. "The kids broke some tackles tonight."
Covington once again took the ensuing kickoff near midfield and had yet another opportunity to put points on the board. Facing a third-and-short, the Buccaneers attempted to go to the air on a halfback pass, but the attempt was overthrown to a wide open receiver that was well behind the Viking defense for what appeared to be a sure touchdown.
After forcing Miami East to punt, Covington once again had a golden opportunity to put points on the board for the fourth time in the contest.
Unfortunately, the throw to a wide open receiver who had gotten behind the Viking defense fell short to end the threat.
From there, Miami East capped the evening with an impressive drive of its own as quarterback Conner Hellyer powered his way in from the one to make the final score 20-0.
"We missed a lot of opportunities," Miller said. "But you have to give them (Miami East) credit because they took advantage of our mistakes. That's what good teams do."
Football is an unforgiving sport as good teams also take advantage of teams that are young and banged up. Covington had four starters and two more reserve players dressed in street clothes.
"No excuses," Miller emphasized. "You have to credit them (Miami East) for the way they played."
For Miami East, which improves to 7-0, it was an impressive win. But Max Current feels his team will need an improved effort next week against another unbeaten team as the Vikings host Tri-County North next week.
"We did some nice things, but our line needs to block a lot better next week," Current said. "We have them (Tri-County North) at our place, but we need to play much better if we want to come out with a win."
For Covington, who drops to 4-3 on the season, Dave Miller is looking for improved health and continued growth for his young team.
"Number one, we have to get healthy," he said. "Our kids battled tonight and they played their butts off. It wasn't for a lack off effort. We're just very young right now."
Covington travels to Twin Valley South next Friday to face its third straight unbeaten team.