NOVEMBER 8, 2014 – SIDNEY
Coach Miller tried everything humanly possible to get his young football team prepared for a very talented Lehman Catholic team in the Division VII playoffs at Sidney High School – even inviting former Buccaneers A.J. Ouellette, Dalton Bordelon and Justin Williams into the locker room to give the pre-game speech.
The speeches the trio gave were inspirational, but it didn’t help Covington as Lehman has too much firepower and experience for this young group of Buccaneers.
And the result was a frustrating 42-7 defeat.
“I didn’t want to see my four seniors go out like this,” said an emotional Buccaneer coach, Dave Miller. “They gave so much to this program. I think a lot of them and they deserved a better finish than this.”
With a limited amount of seniors to start the season, compiled with several key injuries throughout the season, it was an accomplishment in itself for the Buccaneers to extend its playoff streak to a tenth straight seasons.
“But these guys have had to overcome so much just to get here (in the playoffs),” Miller continued. “I am just so proud of what these kids were able to accomplish.”
Still, the Buccaneers wanted more and put together a solid week of practice.
“The attitudes of these kids have been great,” said Miller. “I couldn’t ask any more of them. They gave all they had.”
It wasn’t enough to contain Lehman as the Cavaliers piled up 409 yards on the ground.
And it was seniors Greg Spearman and Skyler Brown who led the way as Spearman had 161 yards and Brown tallied 173 yards.
The duo also broke big runs all night – one a 99-yard jaunt by Brown after Covington pinned the Cavaliers inside the one on a punt.
“They are a big play offense,” praised Miller of Lehman. “That’s what they’ve done all year and we knew we had to prevent the big play to have a chance.”
Offensively, Covington had difficulty establishing the line of scrimmage, which made it difficult for the Buccs to execute their triple-option attack.
“You just can’t make the kind of mistakes we made and expect to win,” Miller said. “We just made too many mistakes. We did it all night.”
The ball also didn’t bounce Covington’s way as on several occasions Lehman put the ball on the ground and the Buccs couldn’t come up with the ball.
The first one came after Covington was forced to punt on the opening possession of the game as Greg Spearman mishandled the punt. Unfortunately for the Buccs, the ball bounced right back up into Spearman’s arms and he raced inside the Covington forty.
A few plays later Spearman scored on to give the Cavaliers a quick 7-0 lead.
After another Lehman pushed the lead to 21-0 on Brown’s 99-yard run, Covington’s Deron White appeared to force a Cavalier fumble when he sacked quarterback Nick Rourke, but the ruling on the field was that Rourke was down by contact.
On the very next play Spearman hit Mitch Slater from 33 yards out on a halfback pass to make the score 28-0.
Covington, like it has done all season, continued to play hard and was finally rewarded for the effort with a nine-yard scoring strike from sophomore quarterback Nathan Blei to freshman Ethan Herron.
But it was the only highlight for the Buccs as Lehman put the game out of reach with two more scores, ending Covington’s season at 6-5.
The Buccs lose four seniors in Josh Earick, Robert Gengler, Brock Murphy and Logan Perkins.
But a lot of talented players will return in 2015 with more experience.
“We’re going to miss the four seniors,” Miller said. “But we have a young, talented team coming back next year. They learned a lot from this year and it’s only going to benefit them.”
Coach Miller always stresses that character is revealed through adversity.
This young Buccaneer team faced more adversity than any team in recent memory and their character was revealed with they way the kids stuck together and battled through it to qualify for the state playoffs when everyone thought they were done after three straight losses in the middle of the season.
If all of these kids continue to stick together throughout the winter and the off-season program, 2015 could be very special.