NOVEMBER 9, 2013 – COVINGTON
Saturday night’s 46-0 victory over Portsmouth Notre Dame in the opening round of the state playoffs was a fitting way for a special Covington Buccaneer senior class to walk off the home field for the final time.
And what made it even more special was A.J. Ouellette breaking the school record for the most career all-purpose yards – a record previously held by Gene Studebaker, who tallied 7,197 yards over a four-year career from 2003 to 2006. Ouellette, who entered the game needing just 46 yards to break the record, did it on his second carry of the game on a 15-yard run.
“His leadership, his character and his work ethic – the fact that he’s a 24-7 guy is what makes him special,” said Covington coach Dave Miller. “And it’s not just him. Dalton Bordelon, Justin Williams, Jordan Wolfe – all fourteen seniors just get it done. It’s a special group of kids.”
Individuality is frowned upon in the locker room, but when individual accomplishments are a result of the efforts of the entire team, they are celebrated.
And the Buccaneers celebrated Ouellette’s record after the game as the offensive lineman presented him with the game ball – along with a little fun-loving razzing.
After a few laughs, Ouellette then thanked those who paved the way.
“I love you guys,” he told his teammates. “I couldn’t have done this without you.”
And it was the offensive line that bailed Ouellette out on his first carry of the game as the senior stumbled at the line of scrimmage and had time to gather his feet thanks to a huge hole on the left side. It resulted into a 44-yard gain that set the tone of the game.
“A.J. slipped on the handoff,” Miller explained. “Normally, he probably would have been gone, but that says a lot about the offensive line. He was able to stumble without getting touched.”
Ouellette broke the record on his next carry and then followed with a six-yard touchdown run to give Covington an early 7-0 lead.
The Buccaneer defense, which held the visiting Titans to just four first downs the entire contest, forced Notre Dame to punt on its next possession.
And senior fullback Bobby Alexander put Covington in business once again with an 80-yard run that put the ball at the Titan three. From there Ouellette powered his way in to push the lead to 14-0.
Like sharks smelling blood in the water, the Buccaneer defense swarmed to the football and forced a Notre Dame fumble that Colton Murphy recovered inside the 20.
A few plays later Ouellette scored on a five-yard run to give the Buccs a 21-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end.
And the second quarter was much of the same as the Buccaneer defense continued shutting down the Titan running game and the Covington offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.
A ten-yard touchdown strike from Jared Williams to senior Zakk Collins and a one-yard scoring plunge by Ouellette pushed the Buccaneer lead to 34-0 at the break.
From there, it was the power running of Bobby Alexander that took over as the senior sparked Covington on a nine-minute scoring drive to start the second half – a drive that is the essence of Dave Miller football – control the clock and move the chains. Alexander ended the contest with 24 bruising carries for a buck-seventy-five.
“Bobby handled things great,” said Miller. “He got hit hard a few times, but he continued to run hard with his pads down.”
Fittingly, Alexander was rewarded for his hard work by given the opportunity to reach pay dirt on a five-yard scoring run to push the lead to 40-0.
Covington then rotated younger players into the lineup, but the results were the same as freshman Deron White broke free on two impressive runs to give the Buccs the ball inside the Notre Dame 20.
Freshman Nathan Blei then closed out the scoring with a pretty 18-yard scoring strike to senior Justin Williams to make the final score 46-0.
“That’s a physical football team we just played,” said Miller of Portsmouth Notre Dame. “They hit us hard and that’s good for our kids because we’re going to see that kind of hard-hitting football the rest of the way.”
As good as Covington played, mistakes were still made that could come back to bite the Buccs as the competition improves.
“We have to continue to improve,” Miller said. “We’re still putting the ball on the ground too much and we’re having problems converting extra points. We left some points out there and we can’t continue to do that.”
Because the stakes become even higher with each outing – next being a huge showdown with the two-time defending state champions, the Marion Local Flyers.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 21 – 13 – 6 – 6 = 46
TITANS – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 0
COV: AJ Ouellette 6-yd run (Ouellette Kick)
COV: AJ Ouellette 3-yd run (Ouellette Kick)
COV: AJ Ouellette 5-yd run (Ouellette Kick)
COV: Jared Williams 10-yd pass to Zakk Collins (Kick Failed)
COV: AJ Ouellette 1-yd run (Bobby Alexander Kick)
COV: Bobby Alexander 5-yd run (Kick Failed)
COV: Nathan Blei 18-yd pass to Justin Williams (Kick Failed)