|Buccaneer freshman Zach Parrett crossed the goal line after hauling in a pass from sophomore quarterback Nathan Blei.
|Senior Brock Murphy scoots around the outside for a first down on his way to a 113-yard rushing effort.
OCTOBER 17, 2014 - WEST ALEXANDRIA - Covington has had some great football teams over the years, so Buccaneer coach Dave Miller knows a great football team when he sees one.
And Miller saw one on Friday in the Twin Valley South Panthers, a team that was too big, too strong and too experienced for his young Buccaneer team.
"They are men," praised Miller of the Panthers, who handed the Buccaneers a 41-14 defeat. "If they continue to play like that, I don't see anyone beating them."
Miller and the Buccs threw everything they had at Twin Valley South, but just couldn't stop the Panther offense - an offense that racked up 423 yards on the ground behind the powerful running of 6-1, 210 pound fullback Anthony Augspurger and the shiftiness of 6-1, 190 pound quarterback Wes Cole.
Augspurger finished with 188 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, while Cole had 96 yards and a score on six carries.
"Our kids were in position to make tackles, but we just had a hard time bringing them down," Miller said. "It sure wasn't due to a lack of effort on our part."
Actually, it was effort that kept Covington in the game until two late touchdowns by the Panthers put the game on ice.
Augspurger scored on runs of 33, 22 and 7 yards to put South up 18-0 midway through the second quarter as all three point-after attempts by the Panthers failed.
But Covington scratched and clawed its way into the Panther red zone and had one final play from the six before the half. Unfortunately the pass attempt was off the mark to keep the score at 18-0 at the break.
The Buccaneers then took the opening kickoff of the second half to near midfield and followed with a Nathan Blei pass to freshman Zach Parrett to the three. Two plays later senior Brock Murphy powered his way in to cut the margin to 18-7 after Blei's kick was true.
The Panthers responded on the ensuing possession with a time-consuming drive that was capped by a 10-yard run by Joe Webb. Cole ran in the two-point conversion to push the Panther lead to 26-7.
But the fight in the young Buccaneers never wavered as Blei connected with Parrett on a 21-yard scoring strike to cut the deficit to 26-14.
The Covington defense then came up with the big play as junior defensive back Coleman Ryan tipped a Panther pass and sophomore linebacker Deron White made a diving catch for the interception.
Unfortunately the Buccaneers couldn't capitalize as a few plays later the ball was stripped and recovered by the South defense.
The Panthers followed by driving into Buccaneer territory as the third quarter came to a close.
After the two teams switched ends, Twin Valley South continued its march and scored on a six-yard run by Sammy Shockey and then Cole ran in the two-point conversion to push the Panther lead to 34-14.
Covington's next drive was halted before it even started on a motion penalty and the Buccs had to punt the ball back to the Panthers.
And South inflicted the final damage in the contest as Cole weaved his way in from 19 yards out and JJ Utz connected on the point-after to make the final score 41-14.
"That's a good football team, but our kids never quit," Miller said. "Our kids competed and battled the best they could. We ran into a better football team and that's the way it goes."
Covington ran into a team that is darn good - a team that will be tough to beat with the kind of performance South gave on Friday night.
But Miller also feels his Buccaneers will see their day in the sun once again.
"Our day is coming," he said. "These kids have great attitudes and they give maximum effort. I know the kids might not understand the big picture now, but when they do get it I see us going to another level."
Until then, this young Buccaneer team has two games left with an outside chance of reaching the state playoffs.
Next is a home contest against National Trail (5-3), winners of their last five games.