CASSTOWN – Coach George Buriff experienced his biggest coaching thrill of his eight-year career at Miami East Friday night as his Vikings, using a rugged defense, stopped the highly touted Covington Buccaneers 12-6 at Viking Field.
East, tasting victory over Covington for the first time ever (Covington has won the other three games) thus moved back into contention for loop honors in the Mad River Valley League.
The Vikings, Covington, Northwestern and Springfield Shawnee are all knotted for first place with identical 3-1 records. Graham upset Northwestern Friday night and there are now no unbeaten teams left.
Miami East displayed a strong defense in keeping Covington’s “Big Three” pretty well in check. Only once did the Vikings allow Kent Thompson to get loose, and it cost them.
Covington drew first blood after a scoreless first half when the high-scoring Thompson raced 39 yards with 6:40 showing in the third quarter. The attempted pass for the PAT failed and Covington led 6-0.
Thompson’s run climaxed a 90-yard drive after starting at their own 10-yard line. Thompson and Bob Rudy helped spark the drive on two good runs, a 31 yarder by Thompson and a 11-yard gain by Rudy.
Miami East, running its season record to 5-1, wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they took Covington’s kickoff and marched 65 yards to paydirt. It took the Vikings 13 plays to score, quarterback Lester Tasker running the final seven yards with 1:20 left in the third quarter.
Tasker had a key run of 17 yards in the drive and David Lange added 14 yards. The runs for the go ahead points was stopped by the stingy Covington defense.
After East kicked off, the Buccaneers, trying to keep alive a 11-game winning streak over a two-year period, started another drive. Two plays after the kick the third period ended with Covington on its own 32 where the Buccs slowly but surely ground out yards.
Eleven plays into the fourth quarter Covington faced a fourth down on the Viking 35, five yards to go for the first down. Last year it was Covington’s gamble of running on fourth down after taking a kick that sparked them over East. Thompson got the ball, kept dropping back, either trying to spot a receiver or trying to find running room. He found neither as the Vikings’ Butch Ward dropped him for a loss, giving East the ball on Covington’s 38.
That set up East’s winning touchdown. Ten plays later, with the Vikings also getting five yards on a Covington off-sides penalty, Tasker sneaked in from the one. The pass for PAT failed, and it was 12-6 East with just 52 seconds left.
Covington, forced to take to the air, had a Flory pass intercepted by East’s linebacker Tom Caven on the Buccaneer 40.
East ran only one play when the final seconds ticked off the clock.
In the first half, dominated by bruising defensive play by both sides, East took the opening kickoff and went 50 yards in 13 plays before Covington held on the 10.
East’s statistics showed them with 220 yards, 206 rushing and 14 passing. Lange carried 21 times for 86 yards, while Tasker ran 16 times for 60 yards, Mott gained 37 yards in six trips and Bob Anderson 23 on 10 tries.
Thompson, who now has 14 touchdowns, picked up 73 yards and Flory netted 67 yards on 10 carries.
East had 13 first downs, 11 rushing, Covington had 8. The Buccs received 15 yards in penalties, East didn’t have a penalty.
Covington ……….0…..0…..6…..0 – 6
Miami East……….0…..0…..6…..6 – 12