|Coleman Ryan celebrates his interception with Ben Kuether (#7) and defensive coach Jeremy Yingst.
|Deron White grinds out the tough yardage against Troy Christian.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 - COVINGTON
Covington football is about controlling the clock, controlling the line of scrimmage and protecting the football - limiting the opportunities for the opponent with time consuming drives and capitalizing on its own opportunities to put points on the board.
It's a brand of football Covington coach Dave Miller believes in and a brand of football that gives his team the best chance of being successful.
For the most part - other than two possessions by Troy Christian - the Covington Buccaneers executed Dave Miller's game plan to near perfection en route to a convincing 28-14 win over previously unbeaten Troy Christian.
"Great win," said Miller after his team racked up 321 yards of offense and held a potent Eagles' offense to just 197 yards. "The kids played really hard tonight. We made some mistakes, but the kids kept playing - moved on to the next play. They have that mentality."
The biggest mistake made by Covington let Troy Christian back into the game. Leading 21-7, the Buccaneers had Troy Christian backed up near its own goal line on fourth down. Going for the block, a Buccaneer player made contact with the Troy Christian punter to give the visitors a first down.
The Eagles then took advantage by driving the length of the field for the score on a 19-yard pass from Hayden Hartman to Chase Hayden to cut the margin to 21-14.
"I take full responsibility for the roughing penalty on the punt," said Covington defensive coordinator Jeremy Yingst. "I should have had Lance (Miller) hold up, but the kids responded and bailed me out on that one."
And it was senior halfback Jared Williams that became the workhorse on the game-sealing drive for Covington, which took place on the ensuing possession.
Starting near its own 20 due to a penalty on the ensuing kick, Covington moved the ball methodically down the field on the shoulders of Williams, who ended the contest with 113 yards on 12 carries.
Williams capped the drive and the game with a 36-yard touchdown run.
"We took a lot of time off the clock on our offensive drives," Miller said. "Even on the two drives they scored on, we made them earn it. They had 16 first downs and 14 of those were on two drives."
Early on it looked like it was going to be a Covington route as Coleman Ryan picked off a Hartman pass on the opening drive of the game and Nathan Blei converted the theft into a 17-yard scoring run.
Covington then held the Eagles on a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Buccaneer offense put together a time consuming drive that ate nearly 6:00 off the clock before Ethan Herron broke loose from 20 yards out to push the margin to 14-0.
But suddenly the Covington offense started shooting itself in the foot as it moved the ball near midfield after the Buccaneer defense gave them the ball back. A holding penalty by the Buccs forced them to punt the ball away midway through the second quarter.
And Troy Christian took advantage by playing its own brand of Covington football as it put together a time consuming drive of its own to cut the margin to 14-7 on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Hartman to Hayden.
"We have some things we need to fix on defense, wrapping up and running our feet," said Yingst. "But the effort of our kids is there every play."
Leading 14-7 at the break, Covington received the opening kickoff of the second half and saw a 65-yard return by Ethan Herron nullified by a block in the back.
But like Miller stated, his kids moved on to the next play - which was a 68-yard scoring strike from quarterback Nathan Blei to Herron on the only pass the Buccaneers attempted in the game.
From there, the Covington defense pinned its ears back and went after Troy Christian, limiting the Eagles to just 50 yards of offense in the second half.
And much of that was due to the pressure put on the Troy Christian quarterback by seniors Zach Barnes and Brandon Magee.
"Zach and Brandon played a heck of a game," Miller praised. "They (Troy Christian) were having trouble moving the ball on the ground in the second half and we put a lot of pressure on their quarterback. Ben Kuether was in there too."
In all, Covington held the ball for 25:39 to 22:31 for Troy Christian and held a 17-16 advantage in first downs.
The Buccaneers rushed for 253 yards and held the Eagles to just 118 yards on the ground.
Covington's lone pass went for 68 yards, while the Buccaneer defense held the Eagles to 79 yards through the air on 18 pass attempts.
The lone turnover in the game was the interception by Coleman Ryan in the opening possession of the game.
With the win, Covington improves to 4-1 on the season and hosts 4-1 Tri-County North next Friday for homecoming.