COVINGTON – The Covington Buccaneers and the Bethel Bees came into the season as the favorites to win the Cross County Conference Championship.
Sure, Ansonia still looms on the horizon for both teams but the winner of this game would have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The looser would take a major step back and need some help get back in the race.
With the stakes high and the intensity level reaching the boiling point, the Buccs won their first big test of season 35-14 in front of the hometown crowd.
The game was tight early as both Covington and Bethel reached the endzone but in much different fashions, Covington on the ground and Bethel through the air.
Bethel’s defense had a difficult time stopping the Buccs’ three-headed monster in Mike Cope, Josh Burelison and Boomer Schmidt.
The Buccs, on the other hand, had a hard time stopping the rocket arm of Brian Shoup.
The difference in the game, however, was the Buccs ability to make the necessary defensive adjustments to control the Bees high powered passing attack and the Bees inability to stop the Buccs three versatile backs.
All three Covington runners, Josh Burelison, Boomer Schmidt, and Mike Cope, reached the 100 yard mark giving the Buccs a balanced running game.
Schmidt was also a playmaker on defense as he broke the game open in the second quarter with a 39-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Bethel did respond in the fourth with a 6 yard pass from Shoup to Chad Zink but the Buccs shut the door for good with a 1-yard run by Burelison.
The win improves the Buccs record to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the CCC.
It also puts Covington in position to where they control their own destiny. The way they dominated Bethel makes a statement to the rest of the league that they will be very difficult to beat.
Questions about their pass defense were answered as they controlled perhaps the best passing attack in the conference.
Their run defense was never in question and they continued to dominate the line of scrimmage. The defensive line played in the Bethel backfield all night while the linebacking core of Jeremy Robinson, Dan Burgess and Boomer Schmidt made it difficult for the Bees to get outside with running back Drew Bowman.
As the Buccs embark on the rest of the season other teams know they will only get better, which is pretty scary because they are darn good now.
Next up, Mississinawa Valley next Friday on the road.