OCTOBER 30, 2020 – ANNA
With both Covington and Anna out of the state playoffs after each team was defeated by West Jefferson, the Buccs and Rockets were able to renew a rivalry from fifteen years ago as the two respected programs locked horns for the first time since 2005.
And the game brought back memories of years gone by as the two teams battled back and forth in a tightly contested contest where one play here or there would make a difference.
That one play was made by Anna, a play that seemed to turn the momentum in favor of the home team – momentum Covington wasn’t able to regain.
Leading 13-7 early in the fourth quarter after a three-yard plunge by Trentin Alexander, Anna responded with a well executed drive to take a 14-13 lead with 8:11 left in the game. Still, there was plenty of time for Covington to keep pounding away with its punishing ground game that had kept the chains moving all night.
But the play of the game came on the ensuing kickoff by Anna as the Rockets executed a perfect kick that sailed between two Buccaneer returners and bounced to the one – forcing Covington’s Deacon Shields to try and make something out of nothing. Shields was able to move the ball to the 15, but a penalty on the return moved the ball back to the Buccaneer five.
It was a huge swing in field position and, more importantly, momentum.
Covington was able to gain a first down on a gutsy fourth-and-two conversion at the 13 as Trentin Alexander powered his way for seven yards to give the Buccs a little breathing room.
But Anna’s defense stiffened on the next set of downs and forced Covington to punt the ball away with just under five-minutes left on the clock.
And the Rockets drilled the dagger into the hearts of the Buccaneer faithful by putting together a second consecutive scoring drive – a drive that was capped by a 14-yard run by Brandon Axe to push the advantage to 21-13 with 1:57 left in the game.
Trailing late in a game, where the odds were not in their favor, is something the Buccaneers have been able to overcome in the past as evident by the Arcanum game.
And it appeared as though the Buccaneers were well on their way to duplicating the magic from two weeks ago as Jensen Wagoner found Jakob Hamilton on a nice pass over the middle to get the potential game-tying drive started.
But once again the Buccaneer offense stalled as a pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-eight near midfield with 1:04 left.
From there the Rockets took three kneel downs to hand the Buccs a 21-13 defeat.
And it was a defeat the was hard to swallow for a Buccaneer team who had left everything they had on the field despite losing some key players to injuries throughout the contest.
The biggest of those injuries was the loss of senior Duncan Cooper, who twisted his ankle on a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that cut the Anna lead to 7-6 after the two-point conversion attempt failed.
Cooper’s teammates picked things up in his absence on both sides of the ball, in particular seniors Trentin Alexander and Gavin Swank.
Alexander ran the ball like a man possessed, rushing for 121 yards on 27 carries, while Swank was all over the field on defense from his linebacker position.
Unfortunately it didn’t lead to a win on the scoreboard, but the effort did show what kind of character the kids have as they played for each other from start to finish.
And its the type of effort Covington will need against Minster, who the Buccaneers host next Thursday in the season finale.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 0 – 6 – 0 – 7 = 13
ROCKETS – 0 – 7 – 0 – 14 = 21
2nd – ANNA: Kohlten Carey 6-yd run (PAT Good)
2nd – COV: Duncan Cooper 1-yd run (Run Failed)
3rd – COV: Trentin Alexander 3-yd run (David Robinson Kick)
4th – ANNA: Kohlten Carey 1-yd run (PAT Good)
4th – ANNA – Brandon Axe 14-yd run (PAT Good)