Friday, August 24, 2001 – CASSTOWN
The 2001 season is under way for the Buccs and they wasted little time getting the party started. On their first drive of the season, the Buccs marched impressively down the field and put points on the board. Josh Burelison scored from three yards out to give the Buccs a 7-0 lead right off the bat.
The rest of the first half was very competitive however. Miami East stiffened their defense and the Buccs didn’t help themselves by numerous penalties that stalled potential scoring drives. The Buccs did manage to score again before the half on another Burelison run but the Vikings answered to make the score 13-6.
The second half was all Covington. After stopping East on their opening drive of the second half, the Buccs again marched down the field which led to Boomer Schmidt powering over from the 2 to make the score 20-6. On the ensuring kickoff, Dusty Blythe kicked a wounded duck toward the Buccs sideline. As the East players waited for the ball to go out of bounds, Jesse Hitt snuck in and recovered the ball for the Buccs. The Buccs capitalized on the heads up play by Hitt with Burelison’s third touchdown run of the night. A Blythe pass to Burelison for the 2-point conversion was good giving the Buccs a 28-6 lead.
The Buccs then added two more touchdowns, one on Burelison’s fourth touchdown run and another on a Mutt Reck interception return to give them a 42-7 win.
The way the Buccs dominated Miami East answers some of the questions about their offensive and defensive lines. The Buccs pressured the Viking quarterback into numerous mistakes and they also shut down the running game by controlling the line of scrimmage. Their performance is an indication that the Buccs may have what it takes to be one of the top teams in the area. It is still early in the season but there isn’t a better way to start.
New Faces Makin’ Plays:
The big names on the Bucc roster performed as expected against Miami East. Josh Burelison, Boomer Schmidt, Dusty Blythe, Dusty Hess, Jordan Shafer, etc. carry the team on their shoulders. The Buccs live and die by their leadership.
Their are a few (not household) names that put their stamp on the game with heads-up hustle. B.J. Owens, Jesse Hitt and Mutt Reck made big plays at key moments of the game to help put the Vikings away.
After going through the motions in the first half and leading 13-6 the Buccs needed some momentum. Burelison had just scored to give the Buccs a 20-6 lead. On the kickoff, Jesse Hitt raced down the right sideline and pounced on the ball as three East players waited for the ball to roll out of bounds. The Buccs then marched the remaining 30 yards to go up 28-6.
Early in the fourth quarter, as the Vikings were trying to get back into the game, B.J. Owens stepped in front of a Miami East receiver and killed the drive with the interception.
With about 4 minutes to go in the game, East was pinned inside their own 20-yard line. Desperate to make something happen the Vikings went to the air again. Mutt Reck grabbed a tipped pass and raced 27 yards for the final score.
These three players may not get the headlines but every successful team needs players like this that hustle on every play.