1997 COVINGTON BUCCANEERS
A downfall in the second half of the season prevented the Buccaneers from returning to the state playoffs for the second year in a row.
Coming off of a state playoff birth a year ago, the 1997 Buccaneers were looking for a repeat performance. A second straight trip to the playoffs hasn’t been accomplished since the 1979 and 1980 seasons.
Conventional wisdom pointed to a tough task as the Buccs had numerous holes to fill from last years graduating class. But, five games into the season, it appeared as if those holes were filled.
Coach Bob Riley’s lineup was a mixture of experience, returning players, and young, first-time starters. The results early were positive as Covington cruised to a 5-0 record midway through the season.
Covington opened the season with a 13-0 shutout over Miami East, and then a 47-6 destruction of National Trail.
Next was the Buccs’ first stiff test of the season as they took on the respectable Tri-County North Panthers. Covington passed the test in a tough battled by taking a 20-14 win.
In week four another stiff opponent presented a challenge. Again, Covington showed signs of a team with destiny on its side as they escaped with a 14-7 win over Bethel.
Covington improved to 5-0 the next week with their most dominating performance of the season, a 40-0 shutout win over Mississinawa Valley.
The graduating losses from a year ago final hit the Buccs hard in week six. Arcanum handed the Buccs and embarrassing 34-0 defeat, which sent them into a tailspin over the next three weeks.
The Buccs then lost to Twin Valley South, 28-12, beat a marginal Ansonia team 14-6, and then lost a tough 19-6 battled to Cedarville.
Out of contention for the playoffs, the Buccs played for pride in the final week of the season. Against long-time rival, Bradford, the Buccs put together an outstanding defense effort to come away with a 7-3 victory.