October 24, 2003 – COVINGTON
The Covington Buccaneers’ senior class played their final regular season game tonight at Covington’s Smith Field and made some history along the way. For the first time in the storied history of Covington football, a senior class finished with a perfect 40-0 regular season record by beating Tri-County North 40-18.
“This game really meant a lot to our seniors,” said Covington coach Kevin Finfrock. “To go 40-0 in four years is really a special achievement. Our younger kids knew how much this meant to the seniors and they helped make this happen. This is a great group of kids and they deserve everything they’ve achieved over the past four years.”
To reach their goal, the Buccs had to stop perhaps the most dominating player in the area in Tri-County North’s Eric Wright. Wright came into the game with over 2,000 yards rushing on the season and the Buccs held him to just 124 yards on 20 carries. Sixty of Wright’s yards came on a touchdown run in the second quarter.
“Eric Wright is one heck of a player,” complemented coach Finfrock. “He’s difficult to bring down. He has blazing speed and he’s very tough. He’s the complete package as a running back. Our kids hit him hard all night and it looked for a while like he was out of the game with an injury and a few minutes later, he’s back in the game. I’m very pleased with the way our defense held him in check.”
While the Buccaneer defense contained Wright, the Buccaneer offense racked up yardage in bunches. Matt McCord ran for a school record 334 yards on 47 carries and scored 4 touchdowns. McCord also broke the school single season rushing record of 1354 yards previously held by Denny Cain in 1971. With 1250 yards coming into tonight, McCord now has 1594 yards rushing on the season.
“Matt just continues to run hard,” said Finfrock. “He’s physical and difficult to bring down by one defender. It takes a number of players to get him down. Our line did an excellent job creating holes and our receivers blocked well downfield. It was a total team effort tonight.”
The Buccs got on the scoreboard on their first three possessions to take a 17-0 lead after the first quarter. Ben Adams started the scoring with a 6-yard run and Matt McCord scored his first touchdown of the game from 13 yards out. Matt Fulks then broke his own school record with a 40-yard field goal to close the scoring in the first.
The Buccaneer defense put points on the board to begin the second quarter as McCord stuffed the North punter for a safety to make the score 19-0. Tri-County North then cut the Buccaneer’ lead to 19-6 on Wright’s 60-yard run, but the 2-point conversion failed.
Covington reached the end zone once more before halftime as McCord pounded his way in from the 2. The Buccs went into the locker room holding a 26-6 advantage.
McCord struck again early in the second half, this time on a 49-yard run. Fulks nailed the extra point and Covington pushed their lead to 33-6.
Tri-County North wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, as Eric Wright led the way down the field. The Panthers closed the gap to 33-12 as Brett Landis dove in from the 1-yard line.
The Panthers scored again with 7:48 left in the game to get within 15 points. Matt Zumstein broke free from 12 yards out and suddenly the Buccs’ lead was cut to 33-18.
In a fitting ending for the Buccaneer’ faithful, McCord shut the door on a potential comeback by the Panthers with his fourth touchdown of the night from 13-yards away. Matt Fulks connected on the extra point to make the final score 40-18.
Covington finishes the season with their 5th straight CCC title (4th outright), their 4th straight 10-0 season and 43rd straight regular season win. The Buccs finish at the top of the computer rankings in Region 24 and will host a first round playoff game next weekend against an opponent to be determined.
Scoring by Quarters:
Covington …..17……9…..7……7 – 40
TC North ……..0…….6…..6…..6 – 18
Covington: Ben Adams 6 yd run (Kick failed)
Covington: Matt McCord 13 yd run (Matt Fulks kick)
Covington: Fulks 40 yd FG
Covington: McCord safety
Tri-County North: Eric Wright 60 yd run (pass failed)
Covington: McCord 2 yd run (Fulks kick)
Covington: McCord 49 yd run (Fulks kick)
Tri-County North: Brett Landis 1 yd run (pass failed)
Tri-County North: Matt Zumstein 12 yd run (pass failed)
Covington: McCord 13 yd run (Fulks kick)
First Downs – 24
Rushing – 408
Passing – 110
Total Yrds – 518
Total Plays – 81
Fumbles – 1-1
Penalties – 2-15
Matt McCord – 47-334-4td
Nick Christian – 5-42-0td
Ross Mohler – 1-9-0td
Ben Adams – 2-7-1td
Mike Varno – 1-6-0td
Gene Studebaker – 6-11-0td
Brady Reck – 3–1-0td
Brady Reck – 6-16-110-0td-0int
Ross Mohler – 4-85-0td
Gene Studebaker – 1-9-0td
Nick Christian – 1-7-0td
Dusty Rhoades – 1-9-0td
TRI-COUNTY NORTH STATS:
First Downs – 9
Rushing – 175
Passing – 79
Total Yrds – 254
Total Plays – 42
Fumbles – 1-0
Penalties – 0-0
Tri-County North Rushing:
Eric Wright: 20-124-1td
Brett Landis – 8-39-1td
Matt Zumstein – 1-12-1td
Tri-County North Passing:
Brett Landis – 3-13-79-0td-1int
Tri-County North Receiving:
Matt Ferguson – 2-56-0td
Travis Perry – 1-5-0td
40-0 – Who Woulda Think It?
Let’s go back to the beginning of the season. The Buccs had lost some big names from the previous year in Jordan Shafer, Boomer Schmidt, Dusty Hess, Jon Sampson, Jesse Hitt, David White, Mykal McEldowney, and Matt Maier.
When you look at those names you’ll see the Buccs had to replace their top two running backs, four offensive lineman, three defensive line positions, a wide receiver, defensive back and three linebackers. Then, when you looked at the current roster, you see the Buccs would have to rely heavily on four sophomores, Logan Brown, C.J. Potter, Brian Ely and Nick Christian to help fill those voids.
Then, the Buccs had two full contact scrimmages…one against Eaton and the other against Versailles. Eaton, a D-IV school, came with over 70 players and the Buccs more than held their own. Versailles, another D-IV school, came with nearly the same amount of players and the Buccs again held their own although the Tigers held an advantage on the scoreboard.
Now, after those two games and looking at the Buccs by position, how many people thought the Buccs would be 10-0 at the end of the season?
Come ‘on, you can admit it. In talking to many Buccaneer’ supporters, many thought a 7-3 or 8-2 season would be very respectable considering the youth of this year’s team. A few did say that the Buccs could and would go 10-0, but would have some very tough games against Anna, Arcanum and Tri-County North.
Now, here we are 10 weeks later and the Buccs are unbeaten for the fourth straight season. Those who predicted a 10-0 season were on top of their game, but did those folks think the Buccs would be so dominant?
How many people thought the Buccs would put up 435 points and only surrender 52? How many people thought Matt McCord would break the single season rushing record that has stood for 32 years? How many people thought Brady Reck would shatter his own single season passing record and throw 21 touchdown passes without Jordan Shafer to throw the ball to? How many people thought Ross Mohler would have 737 receiving yards, second only to Jordan Shafer’s 766 yards last season? How many people thought the Buccaneer’ defense would be so dominating, only allowing 24 points against the starting defensive unit.? How many people thought the four sophomores would perform so well? How many people thought the Buccs would outscore Anna, Arcanum and Tri-County North by the combined score of 99-24? How many people actually thought the Buccs would be this good?
Now, how did this happen?
There’s probably not one answer to the Buccs’ performance in 2003. Actually, there are close to 50 answers as to why the Buccs did so well.
Every coach and every player had a hand in this…starting with first-year head coach, Kevin Finfrock. Nobody knows how much time Finfrock put into this program. After last year’s first round loss in the state playoffs, Finfrock only took 3 days off of football since.
Think about that! He wasn’t even the head coach until the end of April and he’s watching film and drawing up plays every day but three. They say all successful organizations start at the top and Finfrock has positioned this program to be successful through his own hard work. Do you think the man gets paid enough to work 362 days a year? It’s clear he does it for the love of the game and the kids he coaches.
Then there’s the assistant coaches. It’s the schemes of Doug Swartz that resulted in only 52 points surrendered all year, only 24 by the starting defense. Swartz studied countless hours of film to develop schemes to put the kids in position to make plays. Dave Tobias and Tom Barbee worked with the skill kids. When you look at the numbers these kids put up on the season, where would they have been without coach Tobias and coach Barbee?
There’s Glen Hollopeter. Here’s a guy who volunteers his time to help the kids get faster and stronger in summer conditioning and the weight room. Covington has never had anyone else like him and probably never will. Glen is tireless in promoting athletics to the kids and the community. He raises financial support for the program (and other sports programs) through his fund raisers and donations.
How about the scouts? These guys only see the Buccs on film because they are off in a dark corner of wherever scouting the next opponent. The coaches develop their strategies according to the information these guys bring back. Fittingly, we are leaving their names anonymous because they’d probably want it that way.
Lastly, the 39 players on the field. The seniors are the backbone of the team and they lead by example. They began their preparation long before football season by spending their time in the weight room and the speed program. The younger players followed suit and the results are what we’ve seen on the field over the past ten weeks.
When you think back to where the team was at the beginning of the season and where they are now…ask yourself, who woulda thunk it?
Nobody…not a one!