OCTOBER 24, 2020 – WEST JEFFERSON
The deeper a team gets into the state playoff the more important it is to have your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed – which means executing to your maximum capabilities and eliminating the mistakes that have been haunting at times throughout the year.
Unfortunately the Covington Buccaneers didn’t do either and a very talented West Jefferson team took advantage by pouring it on the Buccs en route to a 55-20 win in the Region 24 Quarterfinal on Saturday.
Yes, the score was ultimately lopsided, but Covington had so many chances – only to kill itself with miscues.
First, on the very first offensive play of the game, West Jefferson took advantage of a missed tackle by the Buccs to score on a 55-yard pitch and catch from quarterback Tyler Buescher to MJ Book, giving the Riders a 7-0 lead.
Covington then went three-and-out on its first possession and the Riders received another huge break on a shanked punt that set the ball up near the Buccaneers 30. Shortly thereafter West Jefferson pushed the advantage to 13-0 on a 10-yard scoring strike from Buescher to Tyler Oberle with 6:05 left in the frame.
The Buccaneers continued to struggle offensively and were forced to punt again on the ensuing possession – and again a shanked punt gave the Roughriders excellent field position on Covington’s side of the fifty.
Fortunately the Buccaneer defense adjusted to West Jefferson’s short passing game and were able to prevent the Roughriders from reaching the end zone for a third straight time – stuffing a fourth-and-two play inside the 15.
The defensive stand seemed to spark the Covington offense as it ate up the remainder of the first quarter and moved the ball to the West Jefferson two.
But two straight running plays netted negative five yards, forcing the Buccaneers into a fourth-and-goal situation at the seven.
After a timeout the Buccaneers elected to roll the dice by going for it, but the pass to Tyler Owens was off the mark forcing a turnover on downs.
West Jefferson then drove 93 yards and hit pay dirt on a 12-yard scoring strike from Buescher to MJ Book to push its advantage to 20-0 with 4:02 left in the half.
Needing some momentum heading into the break, the Buccaneers executed arguably their most impressive drive of the game on the ensuing possession and scored on a one-yard plunge by Duncan Cooper with 29 seconds left to cut the deficit to 20-7 at the break.
Covington received the opening kickoff of the second half and carried the momentum with a nice return to near midfield by Trentin Alexander. The Buccaneers then used the power running game to methodically eat up yardage and Gavin Swank capped the drive with a two-yard run to close the gap to 20-13 as the point-after attempt sailed wide left.
The momentum turned dramatically very quickly as West Jefferson returned the ensuing kick to its own 45 and then Hayden Salyer broke through the middle of the Buccaneer defense and raced untouched 55 yards for the score and a 27-13 lead.
From there the Buccaneers began to self destruct with untimely penalties, penalties that negated two long runs by Duncan Cooper and a touchdown pass from Jensen Wagoner to Jakob Hamilton.
And like all good teams do, West Jefferson took advantage by pushing its lead to 34-13 by the end of the third on a one-yard run by Buescher.
The Roughriders then pushed their advantage to 41-13 early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard pitch and catch from Buescher to Kyle Scott.
Covington followed with a 33-yard touchdown strike from Jensen Wagoner to Jakob Hamilton, but West Jefferson closed the show with two more touchdowns on a 35-yard pass from Buescher to Scott and a three-yard run by Weston Kinley.
In all, West Jefferson torched the Covington defense for 486 total yards – 314 passing and 172 on the ground.
Covington tallied 274 yards of offense with 159 through the air and 115 on the ground. But what killed the Buccaneers all night were the 10 penalties that netted 100 yards, but more importantly negated many big plays.
The loss drops Covington out of the state playoffs and moves its record to 5-3 on the season.
The Buccaneers are still eligible to schedule regular season games and all indications point to a road contest next week at Anna.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 0 – 7 – 6 – 7 = 20
‘RIDERS – 13 – 7 – 14 – 21 = 56
1st – WJ: MJ Book 55-yd pass from Tyler Buescher (PAT Good)
1st – WJ: Tyler Oberle 10-yd pass from Tyler Buescher (PAT Failed)
2nd – WJ: MJ Book 12-yd pass from Tyler Buescher (PAT Good)
2nd – COV: Duncan Cooper 1-yd run (David Robinson Kick)
3rd – COV: Gavin Swank 2-yd run (PAT Failed)
3rd – WJ: Hayden Salyer 55-yd run (PAT Good)
3rd – WJ: Tyler Buescher 1-yd run (PAT Good)
4th – WJ: Kyle Scott 10-yd pass from Tyler Buescher (PAT Good)
4th – COV: Jakob Hamilton 33-yd pass from Jensen Wagoner (David Robinson Kick)
4th – WJ: Kyle Scott 35-yd pass from Tyler Buescher (PAT Good)
4th – WJ: Weston Kinley 3-yd run (PAT Good)