AUGUST 28, 2020 – COVINGTON
For those parents and fans who were fortunate enough to get a ticket to Friday’s opener of the 2020 season, they saw two different Covington Buccaneer football teams on the field against long-time rival Bethel.
The first team the fans saw was a highly motivated team who took no prisoners – one that executed in all phases of the game to near perfection. It was a team that epitomizes what Covington football is all about.
The second team Buccaneer fans watched on the field was one that lacked focus – making mental mistakes on a consistent basis. It was a team the Covington faithful hasn’t been accustom to seeing over the years.
Still, the “Good Covington” did enough to establish itself in building a 28-0 halftime lead before holding off a gritty Bethel team for a 28-12 win.
“We started off well with a solid first half,” said Covington coach Tyler Cates. “That was a great score and effort by Jensen (Wagoner) to finish the first half and Deacon Shields also made some great plays in the first half.”
Shields started things off for Covington with a three-yard scoring run and then hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from Wagoner to give Covington a 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Covington pushed its advantage to 21-0 with 2:07 left in the half on a pretty strike from Wagoner to junior wideout Landon LaPoint.
The Buccaneer defense held on the ensuing possession and Wagoner broke loose on a 55-yard scramble for a touchdown with four seconds left in the half to give Covington a 28-0 lead at the break.
It was near perfect first half of football outside of one Buccaneer fumble that gave Bethel excellent field position inside Covington territory.
But the defense was able to hold on the only Bethel offensive threat in the first half.
“Our defense was bend but don’t break all night,” praised Cates.
A different Covington team came out of the locker room to start the second half as needless penalties and turnovers became the norm.
Bethel took advantage of a Buccaneer fumble to get on the boards midway through the third on a 28-yard scoring strike from Mason Brown to Carter Bennett to cut the Covington lead to 28-6.
Then, after yet another Covington fumble, Bethel struck again late in the fourth quarter on a 44-yard scoring strike from Brown to Spencer Briggs to make the score 28-12.
“Our effort was there, but we had too mental mistakes, penalties and turnovers,” Cates said. “So there is lots to work on.”
Penalties killed Covington – 14 for 140 yards – and several were personal foul penalties.
That and putting the ball on the ground four times – three recovered by Bethel – isn’t the type of football Covington is known for.
Still, it was win the Buccaneers can use as a building block moving forward, especially considering the number of younger kids who gained valuable experience under the lights.
“It’s a win,” Cates said. “Lots of young guys gained some experience tonight and some older, inexperienced guys stepped up too – Jake Dilley, Banks Koffer, Kenny Wise, David Robinson and Tyler Owens. Gavin Swank was a great leader and consistent with his play tonight as well.”
Covington racked up 423 yards of offense with a balanced attack. The Buccs had 261 yards on the ground and 162 through the air.
Defensively, Covington held Bethel to negative 35 yards on the ground, good for eighth fewest in the storied history of Buccaneer football.
But, Bethel was able to rack up 203 yards through the air for 168 yards of total offense.
Covington (1-0) travels to Miami East next Friday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 7 – 21 – 0 – 0 = 28
BEES – 0 – 0 – 6 – 6 = 12
1st – COV: Deacon Shields 3-yd run (David Robinson Kick)
2nd – COV: Deacon Shields 27-d pass from Jensen Wagoner (David Robinson Kick)
2nd – COV: Landon LaPoint 20-yd pass from Jensen Wagoner (David Robinson Kick)
2nd – COV: Jensen Wagoner 55-yd run (David Robinson Kick)
3rd – BET: Carter Bennett 28-yd pass from Mason Brown (Kick Failed)
4th – BET: Spencer Briggs 44-yd pass from Mason Brown (Kick Blocked)