LIMA – It was a game where the Covington Buccaneers needed a break they never got. It was a game where they scrapped, struggled, and batted with all their might. It was a game the Buccs fought valiantly, but lost.
Delphos Jefferson played a near flawless contest in the Division V finals versus Covington at Lima Stadium Saturday night. The Wildcats made the big plays, turned back Covington’s big drives and recorded a 32-14 win in front of 4,707 fans, the second largest crowd in Division V history.
Jefferson (13-0) will meet Newark Catholic (13-0) in the state championship Friday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Covington finishes their season at 11-2.
Jefferson coach Kevin Fell was the recipient of two tipped passes for touchdowns. He felt Lady Luck may have been on the Wildcat’s side of the field.
“We were probably a little lucky,” fell said. We had three or four tipped passes that were caught. The first one that was caught was by a kid (Toby Kimmett) who has 14 interceptions on defense. He has a knack for catching tipped passes. The last one (Tony) DeWitt outmuscled him.”
Covington coach Charlie Burgbacher could not fault his defense. Instead, he had nothing but praise for his squad.
“Our kids had the position and got their hands on the ball,” Burgbacher said. “They tried to blow us out and couldn’t. I’m proud of the way we moved the ball when we needed to. That’s the mark of a good team. We have a good team and good quality kids.”
Burgbacher was also the first one to give Jefferson credit too.
“They have a heck of a running game,” Burgbacher said. “They are a really good team. They have size and speed. You have to make things happen and they did. We didn’t.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Kimmett gave the confetti-throwing Wildcat fans something to cheer about with the game’s first score.
While the Jefferson offensive line clocked to the left, quarterback Scot Boggs rolled right on a naked bootleg. He pulled up at the line of scrimmage and let a pass fly toward Kimmett and Covington’s Jim Stickley in the end zone. Both players went up for the ball – which Stickley tipped – but Kimmett hauled in the 35-yard pass for the score.
Before the Jefferson fans could be seated, lightning struck twice for the Wildcats. On the two-point conversion, DeWitt went high in the air and pulled in a pass from Boggs, just over the outstretched hands of Stickley. The Wildcats took an 8-0 lead with nine minutes remaining before the half.
The Buccs had the ball just three plays after the touchdown and were forced to punt. Jefferson didn’t waist any time putting together an 11-play, 78-yard scoring drive. Split back Steve Ruzzard took a reverse 9 yards for the score. DeWitt followed with the two-point conversion on a counter play to increase the lead to 16-0.
While the Jefferson fans might have been thinking of a possible rout, Covington needed just 1:52 to put its first score on the board. Stickley capped off the 66-yard drive with a 45-yard romp around right end to the 1-yard line. Fullback Ty Owens crashed into the end zone the following play for the score. The Buccs’ two-point conversion failed when Jefferson’s Dan Wilson deflected a Matt Pond pass, which was intended for Butch Boehringer.
The Buccs blitzkreig score cut the lead to 16-6 at intermission.
The Buccs stayed within striking distance after a scoreless third quarter. Jefferson, however, increased its lead to 24-6 with 11:14 left in the game.
After a Stickley fumble, Jefferson needed nine plays to find the end zone. Once again Boggs hooked up with DeWitt on a fourth-and-21 play. Boggs out jumped Stickley for the ball for a 27-yard gain to the 1-yard line. Tony Closson slammed across the goal line the following play, and DeWitt added the two-point conversion around left end.
When it looked like it was all over but the shouting, Covington cut the lead to 24-14 six plays later. The Buccs moved the ball 71 yards in 2:01 with Rich Phillis blasting into the end zone from 5 yards out. Pond hooked up with Butch Boehringer in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
But in the end, it was Jefferson’s strong rushing attack which settled the outcome of the game. The Wildcats used almost eight minutes during its next drive to pay dirt.
Jefferson strung together a 15-play, 83-yard drive for the final score. They needed a 13-yard TD pass from Boggs to Alan Syphrit – after 14 consecutive running plays. Pond was able to deflect the pass, but Syphrit hauled it in for the score. DeWitt added his fourth, two-point conversion on an inside counter with 1:24 remaining.
“I thought we could wear them down,” Fell said. “But, they really laid a hit on DeWitt on the final extra point. That’s not a sign of a tired team. They are a good team, as good as we have played.”
DeWitt led all rushers with 120 yards on 22 carries. Teammate Tony Closson added 52 yards, while Matt Closson chipped in 44.
Stickley led the Buccs with 57 yards on eight carries. Phillis added 38 yards and Owens 30.
DJ: Toby Kimmett 35-yd pass from Scot Boggs (Jay DeWitt pass from Boggs)
DJ: Steve Buzard 9-yd run (DeWitt Run)
COV: Ty Owens 1-yd run (Pass Failed)
DJ: Tony Clawson 1-yd run (DeWitt Run)
COV: Rich Phillis 5-yd run (Butch Boehringer pass from Pond)
DJ: Alan Syphrit 13-yd pass from Boggs (DeWitt Run)
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington: 0 6 0 8 = 14
Delphos Jeff: 0 16 0 16 = 32