AUGUST 27, 2021 – COVINGTON
Going into Friday’s home opener Covington coach Austin Morgan felt his young Buccaneers matched up well with a very strong Mechanicsburg team.
And Morgan was right as the Buccaneers fielded a squad with the size and athletic ability to match a much more experienced Mechanicsburg team.
Unfortunately for Covington, Mechanicsburg was much more fundamentally sound and had a significant edge mentally.
That’s because Covington played with uncertainty instead of extreme confidence.
It all led to a 49-0 defeat.
“They don’t (believe in themselves),” agreed Covington coach Austin Morgan in regards to his team. “Our execution is so lacking. We moved the ball pretty well, but we made mistakes that set us back.”
The mistakes Covington made started on the opening kickoff as Mechanicsburg scored on an 80-yard return by Jake Hurst. On the play, Hurst took the kickoff near the Covington sideline and was able to run all the way down the opposite sideline because the Buccaneers didn’t maintain contain.
Then, on Covington’s opening possession the Buccs moved the ball twice beyond the fifty, but ended up punting from their own thirty thanks to four penalties.
The Indians then pushed their lead to 14-0 on a 10-yard run by Hurst to close out the opening frame.
“It seemed like on just about every play we had one or two players taking the wrong step or going in the wrong direction,” Morgan explained. “You might get away with that against bad teams, but good teams will expose your mistakes.”
Covington moved the ball on its next possession into Mechanicsburg territory, but turned the ball over via an interception.
The Indians capitalized on the miscue with a 17-yard scoring jaunt by Dylan Schetter, to push the advantage to 21-0 with 11:42 left in the half.
As the dark clouds rolled in, Mechanicsburg scored again on a one-yard plunge by Aaron Conley to take a 28-0 lead as the game was delayed shortly thereafter with 5:04 left in the half.
When the game resumed after a long delay, the Indians had the ball inside the Buccaneer thirty.
But Covington was able to come up with a huge defensive stop as Jensen Wagoner and Connor Sindelir combined to force a Mechanicsburg fumble.
Unfortunately Covington couldn’t take advantage at the offensive end and was forced to give the ball back to the Indians via a punt.
And the Indians tacked on another score with 40 seconds left in the half on a 10-yard scoring strike from Aaron Conley to Liam Smith.
The second half was played under a running clock and Mechanicsburg was able to tack on two more scores on a five-yard run by Hurst and a 64-yard scoring jaunt by Jayden Roland.
In all, Mechanicsburg tallied 286 yards of total offense, while the Buccaneers managed 131 yards.
“This team is learning how to be good,” said Morgan. “The skills are there and the talent is there, but they just don’t know how to be good yet.”
The reason is obvious. The Buccaneers only have five players who have had significant varsity experience prior to the season.
It is going to take time.
“The kids may not realize it now, but this (the competition) is a good thing for us,” Morgan said of the long term. “We are taking our lumps right now, but once these kids get it they will be like, oh, this is how it is – I can beat this guy in front of me. Right now the kids are playing teams that are at a level they aren’t familiar with.”
The scores of the first two games might not be an indication, but the Buccaneers are heading in the right direction.
The kids are learning what it takes to win – and it just takes time.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 0
INDIANS – 14 – 21 – 7 – 7 = 49
MEC: Jake Hurst 80-yd kick return (PAT Good)
MEC: Jake Hurst 10-yd run (PAT Good)
MEC: Dylan Schetter 17-yd run (PAT Good)
MEC: Aaron Conley 1-yd run (PAT Good)
MEC: Liam Smith 10-yd pass from Aaron Conley (PAT Good)
MEC: Jake Hurst 5-yd run (PAT Good)
MEC: Jayden Roland 64-yd run (PAT Good)