AUGUST 28, 2015 – ST. HENRY
It wasn’t the start to the 2015 football season the Covington Buccaneers were looking for as St. Henry torched the Bucc Defense for 407 yards in a 27-3 defeat.
And it was senior running back Jesse Niekamp who gave Covington the most fits as he racked up 214 rushing yards on 15 carries and scored on runs of 92, 37 and 4 yards.
Still, Covington had its opportunities to control the tempo of the game, especially in the first half.
Covington’s Jarred Williams returned the opening kickoff to the St. Henry 40 and the Buccs’ first offensive plays netted 11 more yards. But the drive stalled, resulting into a punt where St. Henry took over the ball at its own five.
Behind the running of Neikamp and the precision passing of quarterback Mitchell Stammen – who finished a perfect 10-for-10 on the night – the Redskins marched 95 yards and hit pay dirt on a five-yard run by Paul Stammen. The point-after attempt was off the mark, leaving the score 6-0 as a quick first quarter came to a close.
Covington once again received excellent field position with a big return by Jarred Williams and methodically moved the ball inside the Redskin 20 before failing to convert on fourth-and-two.
But the Buccaneer defense gave the offense another opportunity as Lance Miller sacked Stammen and forced a fumble inside Redskin territory.
The Buccs again moved the ball inside the red zone and faced a fourth-and-one at the seven. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers couldn’t capitalize on yet another opportunity and turned the ball over on downs with a two-yard loss.
On the very next play Neikamp found a crease off of left end and raced 92 yards down the Buccaneer sideline for the score.
“Not being able to convert on those fourth downs hurt,” said Covington coach Dave Miller. “Especially the two in the first half.”
Because Covington did move the ball and managed to put together yet another drive before the break. This time it resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Nathan Blei to send the game into the half with St. Henry holding a 13-3 lead.
“If we convert one of those fourth downs, it’s probably a different story at the half,” Miller said. “Instead, we’re down two scores and they have the ball to start the second half.”
And Covington couldn’t get the stop it needed as the Redskins took the opening drive on the second half to pay dirt on a 37-yard run by Neikamp to push the margin to 20-3.
This forced Covington into migrating away from what it does best – control the clock and minimize opportunities for its opponents. Instead, the Buccaneers were forced into trying to score quickly and eventually fumbled the ball back to St. Henry near midfield.
The Redskins then sealed Covington’s fate with a time-consuming drive of its own – one that was capped off with a four-yard run by Neikamp to make the final score 27-3.
In all, St. Henry had 14 first downs to 11 for Covington. The Buccaneers managed 172 yards of offense, while the Redskins racked up 407 total yards.
Covington had two costly turnovers via fumble, while St. Henry had one.
The Buccs (0-1) look to regroup next week as it begins Cross County Conference play at Arcanum.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 0 – 3 – 0 – 0 = 3
REDSKINS – 6 – 7 – 14 – 0 = 27