November 5, 2005 – COVINGTON
Twelve seniors walked off the field for the final time in Buccaneer uniforms after falling to Delphos St. John’s 56-13 Friday night, but they walked off proud and with their heads held high. This, after four years of great memories and a senior year where they brought the Covington football program back to prominence.
“This is an awesome group of kids,” said Covington coach Kevin Finfrock in regards to the senior class. “They always had great attitudes and were very coachable. Every off-season they came in and work very hard and carried that work ethic through each season. They are just great kids.”
Led by the senior class, the Buccs rebounded from a 5-5 record a year ago to capture a share of the conference title and compile a 9-1 record coming into tonight’s game with the visiting Blue Jays.
The Buccs struck first blood on their second possession of the game. Junior signal caller Gene Studebaker raced up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown run, which brought the Covington crowd to its feet. Tyler Kanet drilled the point-after and the Buccs held a 7-0 lead early.
Studebaker, who ended the game with 140 rushing yards, broke the school single-season rushing record with 1,726 yards.
“It was good to see Gene get that record,” commented Finfrock. “He’s just one heck of an athlete. It’s also nice that he’ll be back next year.”
The high-powered Delphos offense responded on its next possession on a 3-yard run. Three more touchdowns by Delphos before the half put the Buccs in dire straights, 35-7.
Showing heart like they have done all year, the Buccs didn’t quit and scored early in the third period. Studebaker again broke free, this time from 37-yards out to cut the margin to 35-13 as the extra point attempt was off the mark.
“These kids never quit,” said Finfrock. “Our seniors played hard every down and the rest of the guys gave all they had as well. We showed a lot of character.”
But, the Delphos depth took its toll on Covington as the Buccs began to wear out down the stretch, The Blue Jays took advantage by reaching the end zone three more times by games end to advance to the second round with a 56-13 win.
Despite the loss, the Buccs can be proud of the season they had, the memories they made, and the maturity they showed through adversity rarely faced by past teams.
“The kids grew up a lot as men this year,” said Finfrock. “You look at what they faced at the beginning of the season and then look at a couple of games this season where things were not going our way, the mental toughness of these kids carried them through. I’m very proud of these guys.”
The growth and maturity the players acquired was on display after the contest was over and all but a handful of those in attendance had already filed out of the stands. Many players strolled toward midfield where Dan Rindler’s name and number was painted throughout the season to have their own moment alone with their teammate. It put the entire evening and season in perspective in that win or lose, it’s about the kids and the relationships of brotherhood they develop.
It’s also about the pride of wearing the black and white as indicated by senior Nick Christian as he walked out of the Smith Field gates wearing the colors for the final time. Yelling at the top of his lungs he shouted, “I love you all and I’m proud to have played for the Covington Buccaneers.”
Scoring by Quarters:
Buccs: …………7……0…..6…..0 – 13
Blue Jays: …..14…..21…..8….13 – 56
Covington: Gene Studebaker 25-yd run (Tyler Kanet kick)
Delphos: #14 3-yd run (kick failed)
Delphos: #44 37-yd run (#14 kick)
Delphos: #44 31-yd run (#10 kick)
Delphos: #40 1-yd run (#10 kick)
Delphos: #14 25-yd run (#10 kick)
Covington: Studebaker 37-yd run (kick failed)
Delphos: #44 1-yd run (#10 kick)
Delphos: #9 34-yd run (#40 kick)
Delphos: #29 16-yd run (#40 kick)
First Downs – 11
Rushing – 197
Passing – 25
Total Yrds – 222
Total Plays – 53
Fumbles – 1-0
Penalties – 4-40
Gene Studebaker: 20-140-2TD
Dusty Kimmel: 8-38-0TD
Nick Christian: 5-9-0TD
Chris “Cookie” Long: 2-8-0TD
Tyler Thompson: 2-0-0TD
Gene Studebaker: 3-12-25-0TD-3INT
Nick Christian: 3-25-0TD
DELPHOS ST. JOHN’S STATS:
First Downs – 24
Rushing – 442
Passing – 53
Total Yrds – 495
Total Plays – 59
Fumbles – 3-2
Penalties – 0-0