|Gene Studebaker was one of the most dynamic and talented players over the past decade.
|Garrett Clark had a career night with 6 touchdowns against Twin Valley South in 2009.
The Covington football program has a proud tradition since it officially began the modern era in 1947. In each decade there has been special seasons put together by teams that have become legendary over time.
The 1950s had the 1951, 1952 and 1959 teams. The 1960's saw the 1960, 1965 and 1968 teams. The glory years of the 1970s saw the 1973, 1974, 1978 and 1979 teams. The 1980s had the 1980 and 1985 teams and the 1990s fielded impressive 1995, 1996 and 1999 squads.
But the past decade was the most successful decade from year to year as the Buccaneers compiled a 95-20 record in the 2000s. Covington also qualified for the state playoffs and had a winning record in each season except 2004 when the Buccs finished 5-5. Covington also recorded at least 10 wins in six of the ten years.
The decade started off with a bang as Ted Peacock's 2000 teams rolled through the regular season at 10-0 and reached the Regional Final before falling to eventual state champion Marion Local.
Peacock led the Buccs to two more unbeaten regular seasons and playoff appearances in 2001 and 2002 before exiting with a four-year coaching record of 42-5, the highest winning percentage in school history.
The Buccaneer program continued to thrive under Peacock's replacement, former Buccaneer player Kevin Finfrock.
In 2003 Finfrock led the Buccs to a fourth straight unbeaten regular season and fifth straight playoff birth - both school records that still stand.
After a bump in the road with a 5-5 record in 2004, Finfrock and the Buccs found themselves back in the playoffs in 2005 and 2006 - falling both seasons to the eventual state champions.
Finfrock resigned after four seasons with a 34-9 record, opening the door for Dave Miller.
And the Buccaneer football program continued to roll with an unbeaten 10-0 regular season in 2007. After a playoff win over Portsmouth Notre Dame, the season came to an shocking end in the regional semi-final in a controversial 8-7 loss to Lehman.
Miller then led the Buccs back to the playoffs and the regional semi-finals in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, finishing 9-3 and 8-4 respectively.
Throughout the decade the Buccs compiled a 89-11 regular season record and seven conference championships. Covington also compiled a 6-9 record in the state playoffs - with four of those playoff defeats coming to teams who reached the state championship game (2000, 2003, 2005 and 2006) - three eventually winning state championships (2000, 2005 and 2006).
Heading into the next decade of the 2010s, the one prize the Covington Buccaneers are still searching for is a state championship. The 1960 and 1973 teams have that label, but never had the opportunity to prove it on the field as the playoff system wasn't in place like it is today.
Should the Buccs capture that "Golden Nugget" (as Coach Kevin Finfrock called it) in the next decade, the kids who accomplish it can thank those before them for paving the way - including the teams of the 2000s.
2000s AT A GLANCE:
Overall Record: 95-20
Regular Season Record: 89-11
Playoff Record: 6-9
Winning Seasons: 9 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
10-win Seasons: 6 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007)
Playoff Appearances: 9 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
Conference Championships: 7 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007)
BEST GAME: Covington 30, Arcanum 28 - Oct. 7, 2005
There were several great games played in the decade, but this one stood out as the most exciting from start to finish. In a back and forth battle, Arcanum built a 28-22 lead with 2:04 left in the game on a 20-yard run by Ty Cates. Covington responded with a 65-yard drive to score in the waning moments on a 7-yard pass from Gene Studebaker to Seth Mohler. Studebaker then ran in the two-point conversion to capture the 30-28 win.
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BEST COMEBACK WIN: Covington 36, Tri-County North 32 - Sep. 1, 2006
Covington trailed 26-7 in the third quarter and appeared to be well on its way to a defeat. Behind quarterback Gene Studebaker, the Buccs rallied for 21 fourth quarter points to capture a thrilling 36-32 win - the final score coming on a Studebaker pass to Seth Mohler from five yards out with 12 seconds left.
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BEST DEFENSIVE EFFORT: Covington 47, Williamsburg 14 - Nov. 3, 2001
The 14 points Williamsburg scored on this night came after Covington had built a 47-0 lead and sent the reserve unit into the game. What made this performance so special is the fact that Covington shut down Jason Bainum, who had set the state career rushing mark and was featured in Sports Illustrated the week prior to the game.
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BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE: Garrett Clark (Oct. 2, 2009)
The performance of Garrett Clark in a 56-20 victory over Twin Valley South was one to remember as the senior fullback tied John Flory's record from 1965 with 6 touchdowns in a game. Clark rushed for 4 touchdowns with 237 yards on 20 carries, caught a 63-yard touchdown pass and ran back an interception for 65 yards and a touchdown.
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PLAYER OF THE DECADE: Gene Studebaker (2003-2006)
Gene Studebaker was amazing with a football in his hands, whether it was running with it or throwing it. In four years at Covington, Studebaker shattered record after record and stamped his name as one of the top players to every put on a Covington uniform. He amassed an amazing 7197 all-purpose yards for an average of 189.4 yards per game. Studebaker left as the school's career rushing leader with 4150 yards and established a single-season rushing record of 1726 yards as a junior. He was the only player in Covington history to rush and throw for over 1000 yards in a single season...rushing for 1447 yards and passing for 1408 yards as a senior. Gene tallied a total of 88 career touchdowns, an average of 2.3 touchdowns per game.
| MORE ABOUT GENE |
ALL DECADE TEAM:
Quarterbacks - Brady Reck (03), Gene Studebaker (06)
Running Backs - Josh Burelison (01), Matt McCord (03), Garrett Clark (09)
Wide Receivers - Jordan Shafer (02), Seth Mohler (06)
Tight End - Jared Hague (03)
Offensive Line - Doug Apple (00), Dusty Hess (02), TJ Warner (03), Brian Ely (05), CJ Potter (05), JJ Thompson (07), Ben Christian (09)
Defensive Line - Marc Hitt (00), Bubby Bubeck (00), Dan Morrow (03), Josh Boehringer (09)
Outside Linebackers - Jon Sampson (02), Teddy Hale (09), Jordy Meyer (09)
Inside Linebackers - Boomer Schmidt (02), Logan Brown (05), Jordy Burelison (07)
Defensive Backs - Mike Cope (00), Mike Molesky (01), Ross Mohler (03), Nick Christian (05)
Kicker - Matt Fulks (04)
Return Specialist - Tyler Noffisinger (09)