OCTOBER 6, 2016 – COVINGTON
In a huge rivalry battle against the only other unbeaten team in Cross County Conference play, the Covington Buccaneers held off a late Miami East surge to record a 28-17 win over the Vikings in a game that was broadcast on live television by Fox 45.
“We have to keep getting better,” said Covington coach Tyler Cates after his team improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the CCC. “We definitely made mistakes out there, but this is a big win.”
Early on Covington was on a roll as it built a quick 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
First, quarterback Nathan Blei found Zach Parrett open in the right flat and Parrett did the rest – weaving his way through the Viking defense for a 55-yard score on the third play of the game.
Covington then took advantage of a Viking fumble deep in its own territory – which was the result of Adam Lefeld punching the ball out and Deron White recovering to give the Buccs the ball inside the five. A couple of plays later Lance Miller powered his way in from the one to give Covington a 14-0 lead.
After forcing Miami East to punt on the ensuing possession, Covington capitalized once again as Blei found Tristin Sowers over the middle from 12 yards out to push the advantage to 21-0.
“It’s all about how we prepared this week,” Cates said. “Offensively, we came out firing right away and scored quick.”
Covington has jumped out to early leads before this season only to see the defense allow an opponent back into the game with a scoring drive.
And that’s what materialized midway through the second quarter as Miami East capped a seven-minute drive with a 3-yard scoring run by Arron Adams to cut the deficit to 21-7 at the break.
Still, Cates felt his team left points off the board in the first half.
“We hurt ourselves by not scoring down there (inside the red zone) and throwing a couple of picks,” he said. “The only thing beating our offense is ourselves.”
Miami East then received the opening kickoff of the second half and marched deep into Covington territory once again. This time the Buccaneers were able to hold Miami East to a 30-yard field goal by Colton Kowalak to make the score 21-10.
But Covington was able to reclaim the momentum as Blei connected with Parrett on a long pass deep into Viking territory and Lance Miller capped the effort with a 2-yard run to push the lead to 28-10 at the end of the third quarter.
And as the teams switched sides to start the fourth quarter Miami East was in the midst of yet another drive where it mixed up the run and the pass to keep the Buccaneer defense off balance.
The drive was capped by a 1-yard scoring plunge by quarterback Ian Gengler to cut the Buccaneer advantage to 28-17 with nearly 8:00 left in the game.
The Viking defense then made a huge play as Joseph Villella stepped in front of a Buccaneer pass to give Miami East the ball near midfield.
And the Vikings moved the ball methodically down the field and deep into Covington territory once again only to see the drive stall as Zach Parrett deflected a Miami East pass into the hands of teammate Lance Miller for an interception that ended matters.
“Our defense played better, overall,” said Cates. “We gave up some big plays, but our I thought our defense played better.”
Yet, the Buccaneer defense has a ways to go as Miami East racked up 279 yards of offense with 107 yards on the ground and 172 through the air.
Covington tallied 278 total yards with 155 yards in the running game and 163 through the air.
The Buccaneers will take their unbeaten record to Twin Valley South next Friday for yet another critical CCC showdown.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 14 – 7 – 7 = 0 = 28
VIKINGS – 0 – 7 – 3 – 7 = 17
COV: Nathan Blei 55-yd pass to Zach Parrett (Nathan Blei Kick)
COV: Lance Miller 1-yd run (Nathan Blei Kick)
COV: Nathan Blei 12-yd pass to Tristin Sowers (Nathan Blei Kick)
ME: Arron Adams 3-yd run (Colton Kowalak Kick)
ME: Colton Kowalak 30-yd field goal
COV: Lance Miller 2-yd run (Nathan Blei Kick)
ME: Ian Gentler 1-yd run (Colton Kowalak Kick)