NOVEMBER 7, 2009 – ANSONIA
The Ansonia Tigers went 10-0 in the regular season for a reason – they are a darn good football team. The Tigers earned everything they accomplished over the course of the season, including the Cross County Conference championship.
But the Covington Buccaneers are a good football team as well, much better than the 35-7 loss to the Tigers just three weeks ago. That was evident Saturday night as the Buccs turned the tables on Ansonia with a 28-7 playoff win on the Tiger’s home field.
“They (Ansonia) are a good team, probably the best Ansonia team I’ve seen – and they’ve had some good ones over there,” praised Covington coach Dave Miller of the Tigers. “But our kids weren’t going to lay down and quit for anybody. We were prepared for four quarters of physical football.”
Which was needed as the Buccs committed the one critical mistake on the opening kickoff they didn’t need in a hostile environment – a fumble. Ansonia recovered and took little time to hit pay dirt on a one-yard run by Jordan Gilbert. The point-after was good, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead right off the bat.
To make matters worse, the Buccs were forced to punt on the next possession, giving an already sky high Ansonia team even more momentum.
“We could have very easily went into self destruct mode,” Miller said. “They scored off our fumble and then we had to give the ball back to them on a punt. But we came up with a big defensive stop there to get the ball back.”
And the Buccs took advantage thanks to a critical third down run by Tyler Noffsinger that moved the ball deep inside Ansonia territory.
A few plays later Jake Bitner, who returned to full duty off an injury suffered in week three, connected with his backup quarterback Isaiah Winston on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Ben Christian hit on the extra point to tie the score at 7-7.
“Jake Bitner stepping in there after being out so long gives us so many more options,” Miller explained. “One of those options is Isaiah and he made one heck of a catch in the back of the end zone. I’m so proud of that kid (Winston).”
Covington’s defense began taking over the contest over the remainder of the half, beginning with a Sam Earick interception, one of three in the contest for the sophomore defensive back.
“Sam played a heck of a game,” Miller stated. “Those were some big plays in the secondary.”
The theft turned into more points for the Buccs as Noffsinger connected with Taylor Reames from 15 yards out on a halfback pass.
“I felt we had their defense confused,” said Miller. “They are an aggressive, attacking defense and we were able to take advantage of that.”
Covington put one more score on the board right before the half on a 24-yard run by Noffsinger with 11 seconds left on the clock. Christian third extra point increased the margin to 21-7 at the break.
“That touchdown before the half was really big,” said Miller. “With them getting the ball to start the second half, a two touchdown lead is huge.”
Because Ansonia’s offense was capable of eating up chunks of yardage, which it did on the opening possession of the third quarter.
The Tigers marched all the way to the Buccaneer two-yard-line on 15 plays, but the sixteenth play was big for Covington as Josh Boehringer and Jordy Meyer snuffed out the fourth-and-goal play to stop Ansonia at the one.
“We came up with the big goal line stand there and then Jordy (Meyer) hit a nice punt from our own end zone that moved them back to their 30,” Miller described. “That’s demoralizing to a football team that uses 16 plays to get down there and then has to start all over in their own territory. That was a big sequence there.”
Because Covington’s defensive front kept getting stronger and stronger, continually stuffing Ansonia backs in the backfield and pressuring the Tigers quarterback into hurried throws.
“We (the Covington defense) played on their side of the ball, especially in the second half,” Miller continued. “Our kids controlled the line of scrimmage.”
And the Buccaneer offense continued to frustrate the Tiger Defense with more big plays. This led to a 39-yard run midway through the fourth quarter by Tyler Noffisinger to seal the contest – a run that was sparked by a well executed crack-back block by Taylor Reames.
“Our plan was to get outside on them,” said Miller. “They gave us some things we felt we could take advantage of and the kids just executed. That block (by Reames) was a perfect example of that.”
Covington had one more opportunity to score but a 65-yard jaunt by Garrett Clark was called back due to a penalty.
Still, the Buccs earned the right to celebrate a 28-7 victory.
“Our kids were focused all week,” Miller said. “That carried over to tonight and we got a great win against a very good football team.”
The victory improves Covington to 8-3 on the season and sets up a showdown with Marion Local next Saturday.
“There are no easy games when you get to this point of the season,” Miller explained. “We just have to step it up a notch – in practice and next Saturday.”
Which is something the Buccs have been doing each contest since the defeat to Ansonia in week eight.
“You look at the last three weeks and the kids are playing with more and more confidence with each week,” Miller continued. “Our attitudes are good and were it needs to be right now. We’re going to give them (Marion Local) our best shot.”
So once again, don’t count out the Covington Buccaneers.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 7 – 14 – 0 – 7 = 28
TIGERS – 7 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 7
Ansonia: Gilbert 1 yd run (kick good)
Covington: Bitner 18 yd pass to Winston (kick good)
Covington: Noffsinger 15 yd pass to Reames (kick good)
Covington: Noffsinger 24 yd run (kick good)
Covington: Noffsinger 39 yd run (kick good)