AUGUST 27, 2010 – COVINGTON
The Covington Buccaneers have had some big wins over the years, but Friday’s come-from-behind victory over New Bremen may have been the biggest victory for the Buccs in a long, long time.
“Under the circumstances, this is the biggest win I’ve ever been involved in,” said an emotional Covington coach, Dave Miller after the game. “You talk about adversity, these kids have faced more adversity than anyone can imagine.”
The adversity Miller referred to was the passing of Corey Patty and Staci Blythe, two recent Covington graduates who lost their battles against cancer in the last two days. The field crew painted a tribute on Smith Field for both Corey and Staci, while the players whore yellow tape in their honor.
“The kids came up with that (the yellow tape),” Miller explained. “The whole thing with the LiveStrong yellow was the kid’s idea. It was a great way to honor Corey and Staci.”
Another surprise the kids came up with was having Buccaneer sophomore Alex Baskerville, Corey’s younger brother, wear Corey’s number 45 jersey as a team captain. And Alex did his big brother proud by playing a whale of a game on defense and special teams, recovering a fumble along the way.
“Everything Alex has been through, geez, I’m speechless,” said an emotional Buccaneer coach. “That kid is something. To come out here and wear his brother’s number after all he’s been through is remarkable. What makes this win so special is because in a small way it begins the healing process for Alex.”
What also makes it special is the way the Buccaneers won it.
Trailing 21-19 after a failed two-point conversion and a fumble inside the New Bremen 20 with under 2:00 to go, the Buccaneer defense forced the Cardinals to punt with 28 seconds left in the game.
Two runs by Jake Stewart and Tyler Noffsinger moved the ball to the New Bremen 13 with 1.3 seconds left on the clock, giving Covington one final play.
That’s play was a 30-yard field goal attempt by junior Steven Blei, who under intense pressure, drilled the kick right down the middle for the game winner.
“I don’t think Steven felt the pressure, at least he didn’t show it,” said Miller. “Everyone up front did their job, the snap, the hold, and Steven just put it through. It was an entire team effort.”
It took and entire team effort for the Buccs to stay in the game as New Bremen scored 21 unanswered points after a 16-yard Tyler Noffsinger touchdown run in the first quarter.
Covington closed the gap to 21-13 late in the third quarter on a 53-yard pass from Isaiah Winston to Noffsinger and then scored again with 8:00 left in the game on a 3-yard run by Corey Ely.
But a missed opportunity for a two-point conversion prevented Covington from tying the score.
“Steven (Blei) came over to us after the game and said he missed the block on the two-point conversion,” Miller chuckled. “Here’s a kid that makes a 30-yard field goal to win the game and he’s remembers a block he missed. You’ve got to love a kid like that.”
Fortunately for Blei and the Buccaneers, the Covington defense took over the game in the fourth quarter, never allowing New Bremen to get any offense going.
But the Buccs couldn’t capitalize on a well executed drive where they converted on two fourth down plays to move the ball to the New Bremen 15 with just under 2:00 to go. The one mistake was a mixup on the center to quarterback exchange, which resulted in a fumble that New Bremen recovered.
Covington used both of its remaining timeouts and three outstanding defensive plays to force the punt with 28 seconds left.
Which was just enough time for Stewart and Noffsinger to put Steven Blei in position to be a hero.
“This was a great testament to never quitting,” said Miller. “Even after the fumble, our kids were not going to quit. You could see it. As long as there was time left on the clock, these kids were not going to quit. These kids deserved this win.”
A win that was emotional for so many reasons.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 6 – 0 – 7 – 9 = 22
CARDS – 0 – 14 – 7 – 0 = 21
COV: Tyler Noffsinger 16yd run – Kick Failed (4:15 left)
NB: Kaleb Cox 3yd run – Kick Good (11:56 left)
NB: Elliott Westerbeck 1yd run – Kick Good (2:51 left)
NB: Elliott Westerbeck 3yd run – Kick Good (10:30 left)
COV: Isaiah Winston 53yd pass to Tyler Noffsinger – Blei kick (9:23 left)
COV: Cory Ely 3yd run – 2 pt attempt failed
COV: Steven Blei 30yd field goal with 1.3 left in the game.