OCTOBER 8, 2021 – COVINGTON
The passion and effort was there, but the lack of execution in critical situations cost the Covington Buccaneers dearly in a frustrating 26-13 loss to Lehman on Friday on the home turf of Smith Field.
“This is tough to swallow right now,” said a dejected Covington coach Austin Morgan. “We will have to go back and look at it (on film), but I think we could have done a lot of stuff better as far as calling what we called. We should have been able to move the ball better. It’s disappointing.”
The most disappointing sequence for Covington came immediately after a long lightening delay with ten minutes left in the half with the game tied at 7-7.
Facing a third-and-nine on its owns side of the field, Lehman took just three plays to score on a 23-yard scoring strike from Donovan O’Leary to Seth Knapke.
Then, on the ensuing kickoff, Covington fumbled and Seth Knapke scooped the ball up for the Cavaliers and ran 15 yards to push the Lehman lead to 20-7.
“A lot of things could have gone a lot better, I think,” Morgan said. “That was a big momentum swing.”
Prior to the delay, Lehman opened up the scoring with a 33-yard scoring strike from Donovan O’Leary to Michael McFarland.
Covington responded with a 53-yard scoring run by freshman Izaiah Sherman, who finished with 107 yards on 14 carries, to tie the score at 7-7 as the first quarter came to a close.
As the second quarter began, the sky to the west suddenly became filled with dark clouds and the officials cleared the field as lightening was spotted with Lehman holding possession just two-minutes into the second quarter.
The two teams returned to the field approximately 90 minutes later under an intense downpour of rain.
“We faced some adversity with the delay and the weather, but didn’t handle it well,” Morgan said.
Lehman, on the other hand, embraced the adversity and took advantage by scoring twice in the first 45 seconds after the delay.
Covington continued to battle, but killed itself with mistakes in critical situations.
Twice the Buccaneers let Lehman off the hook on fourth down situations by being flagged for pass interference.
Shortly thereafter the Buccaneers had Lehman backed up inside its own five, but a personal foul penalty gave the Cavaliers a first down and ultimately flipped field position.
Offensively, Covington had the ball deep inside Lehman territory several times in the second half, but couldn’t cash in for points – once due to an untimely holding penalty, once on an interception and the finally failing to score on fourth-and-goal.
Lehman was able to push its lead to 26-7 late in the third quarter on a four-yard run by Nathan Sollmann after a Buccaneer fumble.
But Covington responded with a well executed drive of its own and capitalized with a 12-yard scoring strike from Jensen Wagoner to Landon LaPoint to cut the deficit to 26-13.
The Buccaneer defense then turned the ball back over to the offense with just over five-minutes left in the game and Covington went to the air in an attempt to score as quickly as possible. Jensen Wagoner connected with freshman Christian Jarvis on four straight pass plays that netted 51 yards and put Covington inside the Lehman ten.
Unfortunately the Buccs couldn’t finish the drive and a bad snap on fourth-and-goal from the four ended all hope of a Buccaneer comeback.
“Our kids haven’t been in too many close games and maybe the pressure got to us,” Morgan said. “You know, we really couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively. We played well defensively, but we didn’t finish when we needed to.”
It was a game the Buccaneers felt they should have won, but didn’t win because they are still learning how to win.
And the coaching staff is taking it upon themselves to teach the kids what it takes to win.
“It’s on us coaches,” Morgan said. “We have to put the kids in the right spots to succeed. We’ll evaluate the film and address the mistakes.”
Covington drops to 1-7 on the season as it prepares for the final home game of the season next Friday against Riverside.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 7 – 0 – 0 – 6 = 13
CAVS – 7 – 7 – 12 – 0 = 26
LEH – Michael McFarland 35-yd pass from Donovan O’Leary (Kick Good)
COV – Izaiah Sherman 53-yd run (Ryan Rohr Kick)
LEH – Seth Knapke 23-pass from Donovan O’Leary (Kick Good)
LEH – Devin Pride 15-yd fumble return (Kick Failed)
LEH – Nathan Sollman 4-yd run (Run Failed)
COV – Landon LaPoint 12-yd pass from Jensen Wagoner (Kick Failed)