October 28, 2005 – COVINGTON
It was a special night at Covington’s Smith Field for the Buccaneers as they hosted rival Bradford on Parent’s Night in which the entire football team escorted the Rindler family during pre-game ceremonies in honor of their teammate Dan Rindler.
Then, in the same fashion as the previous nine games, the Buccs honored Rindler through their play on the field.
Led by junior quarterback Gene Studebaker, the Buccs cruised to a 47-13 win to avenge last season’s defeat to their long-time nemesis. Studebaker rushed for a school record 345 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. The junior sensation now owns the school record for most rushing yards in a season with 1,645 yards, breaking Matt McCord’s record of 1,630 yards from two years ago.
“Gene is just a special young man and a special athlete,” commented Covington coach Kevin Finfrock. “The other kids really look to Gene for leadership and being the field general.”
Every step of the way through his record-breaking season Studebaker had extra incentive to excel on the field. Not only has he played for his friend and teammate Dan Rindler, but he has played for his mother as evident by his arm band on his left arm inscribed simply…MOM.
“I can’t believe it,” said Studebaker after learning of his record-breaking performance. “I wanted to break the records, but it’s hard to believe it actually happened. I owe it to my teammates because it wouldn’t have happened without them.”
Studebaker’s performance in the regular season finale and throughout the season answered questions his coach already knew the answers too.
“There’s always been some talk about how tough Gene is,” continued Finfrock. “Well, he’s one tough kid, mentally and physically, because he took a lot of hits this year and kept on coming.”
Studebaker wasn’t the only Buccaneer adding to the record books Friday night. Junior Seth Mohler also made history by tying Brad Barker’s school record for interceptions in a game with four. One of Mohler’s picks went for a touchdown.
“Seth played very well defensively,” said Finfrock. “He had one mental slip up early, but came back and made some big plays. One was especially nice because it came on a fake punt, which showed discipline.
Covington opened the contest by scoring on its second offensive possession of the game. Studebaker broke free on the quarterback keeper and scampered 59 yards for the score.
After pinning Bradford deep in its own territory, Mohler stepped in front of a Sky Abney pass and raced 21 yards for the touchdown to give Covington a 12-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Railroaders fumbled as Jordy Burelison pounced on the loose ball. Burelison then hauled in a Studebaker pass from 29 yards out to give Covington a 20-0 lead with the first period coming to a close.
The Railroaders began moving the ball on its next possession, but fumbled at the Covington two.
Covington couldn’t take advantage to the opportunity and was forced to punt, giving Bradford excellent field possession near mid-field. Moments later Emmanuel Hill plowed his way in from the two to cut the margin to 20-7.
The Buccs took the ensuing kickoff out to their own 45 and Studebaker took the momentum back on the very next play. The junior signal caller found a seem in the Bradford defense and raced 55 yards for the score to increase the Buccaneer lead to 27-7.
Bradford wouldn’t go out without a fight as Hill scored his second touchdown of the period, this time from 5 yards out to make the score 27-13 at the half.
After accumulating 184 yards of offense in the first half, Bradford found little room to run in the second half as the Covington defense stiffened and allowed just 55 yards the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneer offense continued to roll as Nick Christian reached the end zone from 2 yards out and the Dusty Kimmel scored on a 3-yard run to give Covington a 41-13 lead by the end of the third quarter.
With the game well in hand Covington’s junior varsity took over for the final 12:00.
Sparked by a recovered fumble by Kimmel on a muffed punt by Bradford, the junior varsity unit scored on a 10-yard run by freshman quarterback Chris “Cookie” Long. Bill Dickey converted on the point after to make the final score 47-13 in favor of the Buccs.
“It was nice to be able to get everyone in the game, especially all of the seniors,” said Finfrock. “Some of the younger kids played very well. Cookie made some nice reads and the line opened up some nice holes.”
Covington concludes it’s regular season with a 9-1 record overall and 8-1 in the Cross County Conference. The Buccs also captured at least a share of the CCC title for the eighth time in 14 years in the conference. The Buccs also earn a trip to the state playoffs with Delphos St. Johns as the likely opponent, but the site yet to be determined.
“The kids worked very hard for this (the playoffs),” concluded Finfrock. “They faced a lot of adversity and there was incentive to play well. The kids stuck together after a tough season a year ago and played very well. I’m proud of the kids for the character they have shown this year and we look forward to week eleven.”
Note: An error occurred while compiling the statistics in the Buccs’ victory over Bradford Friday. We originally tallied Gene Studebaker’s rushing total of 345 yards, which gave him 1,645 yards on the season…both school records. The coaching staff has informed us that Studebaker actually tallied 286 yards on the ground, which gives him a total of 1,586 yards. We apologize to Gene for the error as it wasn’t caught until after the fact.
Scoring by Quarters:
Buccs: ………20……7…..13….7 – 47
‘Roaders: …….0…..13…..0…..0 – 13
Covington: Gene Studebaker 59-yard run (kick failed)
Covington: Seth Mohler 21-yard INT (kick failed)
Covington: Studebaker 29-yard pass to Jordy Burelison (Bill Dickey kick)
Bradford: Emmanuel Hill 2-yard run (Levi Kenworthy kick)
Covington: Studebaker 55-yard run (Dickey kick)
Bradford: Hill 5 yard run (kick failed)
Covington: Nick Christian 2-yard run (Dickey kick)
Covington: Dusty Kimmel 3-yard run (Dickey kick)
Covington: Chris “Cookie” Long 10-yard run (kick failed)
First Downs – 29
Rushing – 434
Passing – 77
Total Yrds – 511
Total Plays – 66
Fumbles – 2-2
Penalties – 5-45
Gene Studebaker: 21-286-2TD
Dusty Kimmel: 16-72-1TD
Chris “Cookie” Long: 6-53-1TD
Nick Christian: 5-19-1TD
Tyler Thompson: 4-4-0TD
Gene Studebaker: 7-13-77-1TD-0INT
Seth Mohler: 4-31-0TD
Jordy Burelison: 2-31-1TD
Dusty Kimmel: 1-5-0TD
First Downs – 11
Rushing – 173
Passing – 66
Total Yrds – 239
Total Plays – 44
Fumbles – 2-2
Penalties – 4-40
Skie Abney: 11-47-0TD
Emmanuel Hill: 14-43-2TD
Zach Barga: 7-32-0TD
Levi Kenworthy: 4-27-0TD
Kris Abney: 1-5-0TD
Skie Abney: 4-13-0TD-3INT
Dan Miller: 0-1-0-0TD-1INT
Emmanuel Hill: 1-25-0TD
No. 12: 1-20-0TD
Dan Miller: 1-12-0TD
Danny Knecht: 1-9-0TD