SPRINGFIELD – In life there are certain things to expect: standing in line at the bank, being put on hold when ordering pizza via telephone and a Covington football team that makes its own breaks.
The Covington football juggernaut rolled on Saturday night, ripping South Charleston Southeastern 35-0 in a Division V regional playoff game at Evans Stadium. The Buccs (10-1) will meet Middletown Fenwick (8-3) at 7 pm Saturday at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. Fenwick advanced in the playoff by stopping Cincinnati Country Summit Day 16-10.
“We made some things happen early, which I think dictated the tempo early,” Covington coach Charlie Burgbacher said, grinning. “Some things we didn’t count on doing or happening. We had a couple of key turnovers and made some big plays off those turnovers.”
The Buccs opened a 14-0 lead by the end of quarter one and a 28-0 advantage by halftime. It was Covington’s defense and special teams which had a hand in its first two scores.
Southeastern faced a third-and-38 at its own 23-yard line after being flagged for a pair of blocking below the waist penalties. Southeastern quarterback Tim Sullivan faded back to pass but was pressured out of the pocket by Covington’s defensive end Butch Boehringer. While he was falling backward, Sullivan let an ill-advised pass fly, which was deflected by the 6-foot-3 Boehringer. Boehringer’s teammate, Mike Hagen, caught the tipped ball and traveled 15 yards for the score.
The Buccs’ defense put the clamps on Southeastern during its next possession and forced a punt. Rich Phillis was up to the task, fielding the boot at his own 37. He knocked one tackler on his back near midfield and completed his 60-yard return down the right sideline until being pushed out of bounds at the 3-yard line.
After an illegal formation penalty on the Buccs, Phillis took the ball around right end and barreled home from 8 yards out for the score.
While the Buccs gained 11 yards of offense in the first quarter – along with 25 yards in penalties – their offense took control in the second quarter.
Covington put together a 10-play, 37-yard scoring drive, with fullback Ty Owens carrying the final yard on fourth-and-goal. The drive was aided by a 16-yard pass completion from quarterback Matt Pond to Boehringer on fourth-and-seven.
While Covington looked like it would take a 21-0 lead to the locker room at halftime, they unleashed their quick-strike offense for another score.
After Covington’s Dana Taylor picked off a Sullivan pass, the Buccs put the ball into the end zone eight plays later. Pond hit Jim Stickley with a 21-yard scoring strike with 11 ticks left on the clock, which all but buried Southeastern.
Southeastern had minus 11 yards rushing and no passing yards in the first half. It was the defensive play of John and Butch Boehringer, Mike Hagen, Andy Infle, Brian Olson, Scott Williams and a host of others which made the difference.
“It wasn’t just one player on defense,” said Burgbacher. “Each one was able to make a big play tonight. The defense works well together. There’s a cohesiveness; their personalities are alike. They mesh well together.”
The Buccs hassled Sullivan all night long. He completed just two of nine passes for 28 yards and two interceptions. Whether sacked or forced to run, Sullivan lost 45 yards on 12 carries for the game.
Southeastern finished the game with three yards rushing and 25 yards passing. Covington, meanwhile, picked up 163 yards rushing and 85 yards passing.
The Buccs put their final score on the board early in the fourth quarter. Pond, who completed six of 10 passes for the game, found a wide open Butch Boehringer down the middle for a 20-yard TD.
Bill Besecker was a perfect five for five in the extra-point category. Even though the 6-4, 265-pound offensive tackle was moving bodies on the line of scrimmage, he found himself carrying bodies from the fullback spot late in the final quarter.
Besecker moved to fullback (a.k.a. William “The Refrigerator” Perry) and plowed 13 yards ahead on his first carry, but the play was negated because of a penalty. He added runs of two and three yards before moving back to the line.
“We did it just for fun,” Burgbacher said about Besecker at fullback. “We added that play yesterday in practice. That’s the type of thing you do to stimulate interest.”
While Besecker may have seen his last action at fullback, Burgbacher was pleased with his offense.
“It all goes back to the line of scrimmage,” Burgbacher said. “We had time to look for receivers. Some kids made some nice runs, which took the heat off.”
Phillis led the Buccs’ rushing attack with 84 yards. Stickley added 55 yards and Owens 18.
If there was anything Burgbacher could be critical about, it would be his team’s seven illegal formation or motion penalties.
“I don’t know if we lined up offsides or if we altered our stances because of the field conditions,” he said. “We’ll have to check the films this week.”
Covington advances to play Middletown Fenwick next Saturday and Southeastern ends their season at 9-2.
COV: Mike Hagan 15-yd interception return (Bill Besecker Kick)
COV: Rich Phillis 6-yd run (Besecker Kick)
COV: Ty Owens 1-yd run (Besecker Kick)
COV: Jim Stickley 21-yd pass from Matt Pond (Besecker Kick)
COV: Butch Boehringer 20-yd pass from Matt Pond (Besecker Kick)
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington: 14 14 0 7 = 35
Southeastern: 0 0 0 0 = 0