August 28, 2009 – NEW BREMEN
With under 2:00 to go in the season opener against New Bremen, the Covington Buccaneers appeared to be well on their way to the end zone for the go-ahead and likely winning touchdown.
But what would have been a fitting end to a hard-fought comeback victory was suddenly derailed due to the third fumble of the game by the Buccaneers at the New Bremen ten.
The Cardinals then took advantage by driving ninety yards in less than 1:00 for the winning score – sixty of those coming on a third-and-six situation inside New Bremen’s twenty.
“Mistakes will kill you and we had our fair share tonight,” said Covington coach Dave Miller as he summed up a 29-22 loss on the road. “You can’t put the ball on the ground like we did tonight and expect to win. You can’t miss that many tackles and have blown coverages like we did and expect to win. We have some things we need to shore up.”
The game was all New Bremen for much of the first half as the Cardinals built an 8-0 lead on a 19-yard run and a safety on a blocked punt.
But Covington responded late in the first half with a well executed drive that was capped off by a four-yard pass from Jake Bitner to Cory Ely.
That’s when New Bremen speedster Spencer Rohr took over as he raced 98 yards untouched to make the score 16-7.
“We had them pinned down at their own goal line and let them slip away,” Miller explained. “That was disappointing.”
What was even more disappointing was the outcome of the next possession for Covington.
The Buccs were in the midst of another well executed drive in an attempt to cut into the margin before the half, but fumbled the ball back to New Bremen with under a minute to go.
And New Bremen nearly turned the favor into points, but Rohr was stopped just short of the goal line on a 45-yard reception on the last play of the half.
“We had a couple of stands there in the first half that gave us a chance,” Miller said. “We blocked a field goal and then kept them out of the end zone right before the half.”
Covington got things rolling offensively to open the second half as it put together yet another well executed drive that was capped by a two-yard run by Bitner to cut the margin to 16-14.
“You could see our kids just growing in confidence that we were wearing them down,” said Miller.
But missed tackles haunted Covington once again as Rohr was hit at the line of scrimmage and bounced outside and through the Buccaneer defense for a 40-yard touchdown run to push the margin to 22-14.
“We have to do a much better job of wrapping up,” Miller stated. “It doesn’t do you any good to hit the guy if you don’t wrap up and we have a some bad habits we need to break.”
Still, Covington’s offense kept pounding away at a tiring New Bremen defense and the result was a momentum-changing 42-yard run by Garrett Clark to begin the fourth quarter.
Covington’s defense then forced a New Bremen fumble near midfield with 5:00 to go.
“Our kids were pumped up,” described Miller. “You could see it in their eyes when New Bremen called a timeout. The kids knew that we could put the game away if we scored on that drive.”
And it looked like Covington was going to do just that as Garrett Clark and Tyler Noffsinger were picking up chunks of yardage on each carry.
All the while the clock was ticking away inside of two minutes with the Buccs perched inside the New Bremen twenty.
“We were getting stronger on every play,” Miller stated. “You could sense we were going to put the nail in the coffin on that drive.”
But it wasn’t meant to be as Covington fumbled while fighting for extra yardage at the New Bremen ten.
“But you have to protect the ball – in that situation in particular,” Miller continued. “I love the effort, but you have to put two hands on the ball and protect it with your life.”
Even with the untimely turnover, Covington still had a chance to get the ball back as it had New Bremen facing a third-and-six at it’s won twenty with just under 1:00 to go.
But a broken coverage left a New Bremen receiver wide open down the middle of the field for a 60-yard gain to the Covington twenty.
“That play was a killer,” said Miller. “We had a chance to get the ball back, but let them hit the big play because of a missed assignment.”
Two plays later the Cardinals sealed the deal with a 15-yard run by Rohr, his third of the game on a 285-yard rushing effort.
“We have to get better,” Miller said after his team gave up 337 rushing yards and 466 total yards on 39 offensive plays by New Bremen. “The effort is there, but we’re not doing the little things we need to do to win games like this.”
Covington has a week to correct the mistakes as it travels to face Bethel next week in Cross County Conference action.
“The good thing is these kids will come in and work hard, there’s no doubt about that,” Miller reassured. “I like their attitudes and the effort they give. It’s a matter of just continuing to get better.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 0 – 7 – 7 – 8 = 22
CARDS – 6 – 10 – 0 – 13
New Bremen: Williams 19-yard run (kick failed)
New Bremen: Safety
Covington: Bitner, 4-yard pass to Ely (kick good)
New Bremen: Rohr 98-yard run (pass good)
Covington: Bitner 2-yard run (kick good)
New Bremen: Rohr 40-yard run (pass failed)
Covington: Clark 42-yard run (Noffsinger run)
New Bremen: Rohr 15-yard run (kick good)