DAYTON – At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Bill Besecker proved his weight in gold Saturday night. It wasn’t the Covington offensive tackle’s play in the trenches that won him notoriety, it was his powerful right leg which booted Middletown Fenwick out of the Ohio high school regional football playoffs.
Besecker’s 22-yard field goal with 10:43 remaining in the second quarter was enough to give Covington a 3-0 win over Fenwick in the Region 5, District 20 finals. The Buccs (11-1) will meet Delphos Jefferson (12-0) in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday in Lima. Delphos stopped Fremont St. Joseph 22-0 to advance in post-season play.
Besecker, who was selected to the first team Southwestern River Conference at kicker, laid his size 12 square-toed kicking shoe into the ball for his third field goal of the season. The play did not go without some excitement, however.
Jim Stickley, who is the holder on field goals and extra points, injured a thumb before the field goal attempt.
“Stickley is usually the holder, but he hurt his thumb a few plays earlier,” Besecker said. “(Matt) Pond was then the holder and put the ball down with his left hand. He bobbled the snap, but was able to get it down.”
Besecker’s kick was long and true, which he felt had no more pressure than any other kick.
“It was just a regular kick,” Besecker said. “It wasn’t for the game at that time.”
Covington’s defense took over from there, needing a game-saving tackle from Dana Taylor and a fumble recovery from Mike Hagen to thwart Fenwick’s only serious scoring drive of the night.
While the Buccs’ defense dominated the first half, allowing just four yards total offense in the half and 74 for the game, Fenwick rallied behind a new quarterback to start the third quarter.
Chris Cunningham replaced Graig Weiss at quarterback and drove Fenwick deep into Covington territory. After runs of 11 and 24 yards on quarterback keepers off the option, Cunningham hit split end Brad Uhl with a pass near the sideline. Uhl cut across the grain and traveled 32 yards, leaving Covington would-be tacklers in his wake. Taylor caught up to Uhl and collared him at the 8-yard line.
While the momentum may have shifted to Fenwick, a five-yard motion penalty pushed the ball back to the 13. Cunningham went back to pass on the next play, but pulled the ball down as he juked his way to the 3-yard line, where he was hit and fumbled. Covington’s Mike Hagen fell on the ball to end the Falcon’s potential scoring drive.
“They made a mistake down near the goal line and got a five-yard penalty,” Covington coach Charlie Burgbacher said. “We got aggressive and were able to come away with the turnover.”
The Buccs were not out of the fire yet. They failed to pick up a first down and after a 25-yard punt, the Falcons took over at the Buccs’ 30. Three running plays netted six yards and Tom Summerville came on to attempt a game-tying 43-yard field goal. Summerville never got the kick off as the snap sailed over the holder’s head, which turned into a 28-yard loss.
Fenwick coach Dick Martin felt Summerville had a legitimate shot at tying the game.
“He’s hit ’em from 50 yards in practice,” Martin said. “What really hurt us tonight was our snaps.”
Martin also felt the Falcons were at a disadvantage when tailback David Fetters left the game with torn ligaments in his knee during their first offensive possession.
“We were missing our No. 1 and No. 2 runners,” Miller said. “Neither our first string tailback or fullback saw more action than one offensive play. Our Starting fullback, Rochiel Lohure, missed the game because of an injury. When Fedders went out it affected our team. It took a while for our defense to get into the flow after that.”
Fenwick ended its season at 8-3.
Covington’s offense moved at will during the first half, with Stickley carrying the ball 17 times for 89 yards. But two illegal motion penalties and an intercepted pass stopped a pair of drives. Stickley finished the game with 120 yards rushing.
“We were concerned in the first half because we felt we stopped ourselves,” Burgbacher said. “It wasn’t so much of them stopping us.”
Burgbacher, however, credited the entire squad for the win.
“It was a super effort from everyone,” he said. “You have to give the (the offensive backs) credit. Each one of them made the big play tonight. And then you have to give the people up front credit. They were moving people. You have to give all of the assistant coaches credit. They all coach winter sports teams and are putting in overtime. You have to give them a lot of credit.”
COV: Bill Besecker 22-yd field goal
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington: 0 3 0 0 = 3
M. Fenwick: 0 0 0 0 = 0