OCTOBER 9, 2020 – COVINGTON
Covington was awarded the fifth seed and a first round bye in the state playoffs, which provided the opportunity to host long-time CCC rival Ansonia in a non-conference game on Friday.
Hoping to shake the rust off from having their game cancelled a week ago due to their opponent suffering from Covid-19, the Buccs had aspirations of gaining some momentum heading into next week’s playoff game against the winner of the Arcanum and Dixie game.
But Ansonia had other plans as it frustrated the home team by controlling the clock and taking advantage of Covington’s mistakes en route to a 10- shutout win over the Buccs.
And it was penalties that killed Covington all night long – not the type due to physical play and aggression – but penalties of the mental type. In all, Covington had 11 penalties for a total of 75 yards, but many of those cost the Buccaneers more than the yards.
The penalties cost Covington momentum and ultimately prevented potential scores.
The first huge penalty came on Ansonia’s opening possession of the game as Covington had the Tigers stopped at midfield on a third-and-long. But a late hit out of bounds gave the Tigers new life and Ansonia was able to take advantage with a 41-yard scoring strike from Isaac Barga to Xavier Moody, who broke several Buccaneer tackles down the left sideline before reaching pay dirt.
Covington moved the ball at will on its opening possession of the game and found itself inside the Ansonia ten. But a false start penalty moved the Buccaneers back to 13 where they would face a fourth-and-seven, which resulted into an incomplete pass and a turn over on downs.
After holding Ansonia in check on its next possession, Covington once again moved the ball inside the Tiger ten. But once again a holding penalty moved the ball back to the 19 where Covington would ultimately face a fourth-and-nine situation from the 17 two plays later.
And again, the pass was off the mark and the Tigers took over on towns.
From there, Ansonia used its ground and pound running game to control the clock.
But, just when the Buccaneer defense clamped down on the run, Tiger quarterback Isaac Barga found Ethan Hemmerich open behind the Covington defense for 43 yards to set the Tigers up in Covington territory. A personal foul penalty for roughing the passer added extra yardage as well.
Fortunately for Covington, the defense was able to stiffen an hold the Tigers at the three as the first half came to an end.
Covington received the kickoff to start the second half, but couldn’t muster any offensive success against an Ansonia defense that was gaining confidence with every snap.
Ansonia’s offense didn’t do much either, but it did do enough to keep the ball out of Covington’s hands and take valuable time off of the clock.
When the Buccaneers did possess the ball, big plays were taken away by penalties as evident by a long run by junior quarterback Jensen Wagoner – a run into Ansonia territory – that was negated by holding penalty forcing Covington to punt on fourth-and-23.
Ansonia took advantage by moving the ball deep into Covington territory and then converting on a 24-yard field goal by Connor Schmit to push the Tiger advantage to 10-0 with 9:25 left.
With time a factor, the Buccaneers took more and more chances in the passing game and the Tigers were on the spot by pulling down two of three interceptions on the night in the final frame to hold on for the shutout win – the first against a Covington team since St. Henry shut out the Buccs 22-0 in the opening game of the 2018 season.
On this night, Ansonia (5-1) was the football team who deserves a tip of the hat for executing its game plan in all phases of the game.
The loss drops Covington to 4-2 on the season, but more importantly, it gives the Buccaneers a lot to think about moving forward.
Covington has a tradition of playing physical, disciplined football, and that’s the type of football that will need to be played if the Buccaneers hope to have playoff success of any kind.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 0
TIGERS – 7 – 0 – 0 – 3 = 10
ANS: Xavier Moody 41-yd pass from Isaac Barga. (Connor Schmit Kick)
ANS: Connor Schmidt 24-yd Field Goal