The Covington Buccaneers came one play from winning a state championship in 1979.

Larrie Tisdale

You can’t get much closer to a state championship then the 1979 Covington Buccaneers did. They were one play away from being called “State Champions” but it wasn’t meant to be. They fell 23-17 in 2 overtimes to Mogadore in what was the longest game in Ohio high school history.

1979 was one of the most memorable seasons in Buccaneers history and the ’79 team was arguably one of the best. The Buccs steamrolled through the regular season without a loss. Along the way they dominated Parkway (28-3), Tipp City (20-7), Miami East (27-6), Springfield catholic (21-0), Lehman (33-8), Graham (28-8), St. Henry (41-12) and Indian Lake (41-0). The Buccs also squeaked by Versailles 7-6. The only blemish on their record was a 0-0 tie with arch-rival Bradford.

Throughout the regular season the Buccs scored 246 points on offense and yielded only 50 on defense. They recorded three regular season shutouts (the fourth came in the playoffs). The most points scored on the Bucc defense in the regular season was 12 points versus St. Henry.

With a record of 9-0-1 the Buccs made their first ever playoff appearance against a tough Tiffin Calvert team. Led by quarterback Dave Tobias and a balanced running game consisting of Joe Schmidt, Jeff Cain and Rick Schmidt, the Buccs easily handled Tiffin Calvert 20-0 to set up the Buccs’ chance at a State Championship.

The championship would not come even though the Buccs came within one play from their goal. The narrow loss at the “Akron Rubber Bowl” doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of the ’79 team. They still rank as one of the best teams to ever play at Covington.

1979 Covington Buccaneers: Row 1 - Ted Fields, Ryan Kimmel, Bryan Reames, Brian Bitner, Mike Girouard, Glenn Musgrave, Rob Girouard, Marc Cain, Dave DeMoss, Kevin Finfrock, Pat Thomas, Chris Locker, Chris Rench. Row 2 - John Broughman, Mark Williams, Greg Rench, Mark Landis, Doug Pond, Jim Smith, Chris Yingst, Phil Reck, Don Fosnight, Mike Grilliot, Todd Fields, Kirk Tisdale, Jeff Cain, Jeff Lauber, Steve Fisher. Row 3 - Larrie Tisdale, Dave Tobias, Joe Schmidt, Jim Rench, Scott Manson, Dale Barger, Jeff Ryan, Travis Brannon, Dan Westfall, Tom Manson, Joe Richard, Rick Schmidt, Chuck Yingst, Ed McCord, Bob Huelsman.

LE Tom Manson
RE Greg Rench
LT Don Fosnight
RT Dan Westfall
LG Kirk Tisdale
RG Jeff Lauber
C Mark Landis
QB Dave Tobias
HB Joe Schmidt
HB Rick Schmidt
FB Jeff Cain

LE Jeff Cain
RE Tom Manson
LT Todd Fields
RT Dan Westfall
LB Greg Rench
LB Joe Schmidt
LB Jeff Lauber
LB Don Fosnight
DHB Rick Schmidt
DHB Dave Tobias
S Rob Girouard

Dave Tobias was a 1980 Covington graduate and the leader of the 1979 state runner-up football team where he became the first Buccaneer quarterback to throw for over 1000 yards by tossing for 1017 yards in 1979. After graduation, Tobias went on to play college football at Wittenberg University where he was a standout quarterback for the Tigers. Once his playing days were over, Tobias returned to Covington as head football coach from 1990 to 1993 and also coached as an assistance coach for several decades. Tobias is a member of the Covington Athletic Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Covington in 1980, Joe Schmidt became just the third player in Buccaneer history to play at The Ohio State University. Schmidt joined the Buckeyes at linebacker in 1980 as a walk-on after a stellar career at Covington where he became just the fourth back in school history to rush for over 1000 yards in a season. Schmidt also set a state record for the longest touchdown run in a state championship game when he ran 91 yards for a touchdown against Mogodore. Schmidt is a member of the Covington Athletic Hall of Fame.

Larrie Tisdale…A Coaching Genius
Larrie Tisdale was the most successful coach in Buccaneer history. He compiled a record of 89-30-4. He coached the Buccs from 1967-1973 and again from 1978-1982. He coached the Buccs to two undefeated seasons (’68 and ’73), two 10-1-1 seasons (’79 and ’80) and two 9-1 seasons (’74 and ’78). His 1973 team was Class A State Champions in the coaches poll. and his 1979 team was State Runner-up, losing to Mogadore 23-17 in 2 overtimes.

1979 BUCCS - 10-1-1 - STATE RUNNER-UP




Tipp City



Miami East

Springfield Catholic





St. Henry

Indian Lake


Tiffin Calvert


Select Result for Game Story

1979 Captains: Jeff Lauber, Joe Schmidt and Dave Tobias.
The 1979 Buccaneers were the first to qualify for the state playoffs and they went on to the state finals. Mark "Mad Dog" Landis, Dave Tobias, Joe Schmidt and Jeff Cain celebrate after leading the Buccaneers to the state finals with a 20-0 win over Tiffin Calvert.