|Freshman Ethan Herron celebrates his first varsity touchdown.
|Adam Lefeld #59 and Ian Fries #32 fire off the ball to open a hole.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 - UNION CITY
The Covington Buccaneers took another positive step forward on Friday with a 35-0 win at Mississinawa Valley to improve to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the CCC.
And it was a phenomenal defensive effort by the Buccaneers that set the tone.
"Real good defensive effort, real good," praised Covington coach Dave Miller after his defense held Mississinawa Valley to just 23 yards of offense and two earned first downs. "That's an offense that is pretty good and we shut it down. They do some things that are tough to defend and they've put up some big numbers in their first two games, but our kids just flew to the football tonight."
Which was what the Buccaneers needed as it took a while for the offense to get rolling as Covington was forced to punt on its opening possession.
But on its second possession the Buccaneers took advantage of Mississinawa Valley playing its safety near the line of scrimmage in order to stop the run.
Sophomore quarterback Nathan Blei found a wide open receiver in Branden Robinson down the middle of the field for an 18-yard touchdown strike. Blei kicked the point-after and the Buccs were up 7-0 early.
"That's why we threw it," said Miller in regards to Mississinawa Valley playing its safety up. "They didn't keep anyone back, so it was there."
After stuffing the Blackhawks on the ensuing possession, Covington made Mississinawa Valley pay once again for keeping the safety up as Blei connected with Robinson for 21 yards to put the ball deep into Blackhawk territory.
Two plays later sophomore fullback Deron White powered his way in from six yards out to push the Covington lead to 14-0 after Blei made true on his second point-after.
After the Buccaneer defense once again held the Blackhawks on three straight plays to force a punt, Blei took matters into his own hands with a 16-yard touchdown run to push the Covington lead to 21-0 at the break.
"We controlled the clock in the first half," Miller said. "It seemed like we had the ball the entire first half, which is what this offense is designed to do."
The one miscue by the Buccs in the first half that prevented possibly more points going on the board was a miscue that Miller would like to see his team eliminate - a fumble. It came on fourth-and-two at the Mississinawa Valley 23.
"That's the stuff we have to eliminate," said Miller of the fumbles.
Still, Covington's defense bailed the offense out with its stellar play in holding a potent Mississinawa Valley backfield in check.
And the Buccaneer offense rewarded the play of the defense by putting together a time-consuming drive to start the second half - a drive that resulted in a 16-yard scoring jaunt by senior halfback Brock Murphy to push the lead to 28-0.
With the clock winding down on the third quarter, the Buccaneer defense came through once again as Coleman Ryan picked off a Hunter Coning pass at midfield.
After the two teams switched sides to begin the fourth quarter, Buccaneer freshman Ethan Herron broke free from 25 yards away to push the Covington lead to 35-0.
From there, the running clock took over, limiting the repetitions of the Buccaneer junior varsity squad.
"When they went to a running clock, it messed with our time of possession, but we controlled the clock for most of the game," said Miller. "I would have liked to have seen our younger kids get more reps."
Still, it was a fun night for a young Buccaneer team still in search of an identity.
"The kids really had a lot of fun tonight," said Miller with a smile. "You know, they've worked hard and this is suppose to be fun. You could tell they had fun tonight and as a coach, that's good to see."
From all indications, the identity of this Covington team may revolve around controlling the time of possession.
But more will be learned about this young Buccaneer team next week as they host Bethel.