OCTOBER 15, 2021 – COVINGTON
The six Covington senior football players played their final game on Smith Field on Friday and despite a 41-6 defeat to Riverside, this group of young men had every reason to walk off the field with their heads held high instead of consoling each other in tears.
That’s because the six seniors – Connor Sindelir, Cam Kirker, Ricky Stephan, Jensen Wagoner, Jake Dilley and Landon LaPoint – have set the standard for the new era of Buccaneer football. That standard is in all caps, DOING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY.
“Drink the water, but remember who dug the well,” said Covington coach Austin Morgan. “Nobody sees that. In two years people will say, ‘Oh, that is such and such’s senior year’ – and it is – but, what these seniors have done here is unbelievable. They’ve set a standard. We lift at six in the morning and we grind, we condition, we get after each other and it’s hard. We’re not there yet, but the seniors have set a huge foundation. They dug a huge well, down deep and in a couple of years these younger kids will be drinking the water.”
Friday, Covington had its chances against Riverside, but couldn’t keep pace with the Pirates due to three factors – surrendering big plays in critical situations, untimely penalties and bad breaks.
Riverside received the opening kickoff and the Buccaneer defense looked to have the upper hand as it forced the Pirates into third-and-long three times. Each time Riverside was able to come up with a big play to extend the drive and eventually scored on a 35-yard run on third-and-seven.
The Pirates then scored on its next possession on a 15-yard pass from Myles Platfoot to Landon Stewart to claim a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play.
But Covington had some fight all night and was rewarded with a well executed drive that was capped by a two-yard run by freshman Izaiah Sherman, who rushed for 81 yards on just nine carries until he left the game with and injury in the third quarter. The point-after attempt was unfortunately blocked, leaving the score 14-6 in favor of Riverside with 10:23 left in the half.
Covington appeared to have Riverside stalled on the ensuing possession as the Pirates face a fourth-and-twelve at the Buccaneer 32 after a quarterback sack by Connor Sindelir. But Riverside’s Landon Stewart made a miraculous one-handed catch despite outstanding coverage by the Buccaneer secondary to keep the drive alive.
The Pirates then pushed their lead to 20-6 with a four-yard run by Myles Platfoot.
After Buccaneer punt on the ensuing possession, Riverside moved the ball into Buccaneer territory and eventually scored on a fourth-and-goal run by Myles Platfoot on the final play of the half – a play that was highly controversial as it appeared Platfoot was stopped well short of the goal line.
Still, Covington wasn’t going down without a fight and took the opening possession of the second half deep into Riverside territory as freshman Izaiah Sherman broke off two long runs and quarterback Jensen Wagoner hit Trey Schmelzer on a pair of passes that netted 41 yards.
Unfortunately, the Buccaneers came up empty due to back-to-back holding penalties.
Covington had another golden opportunity to score as Jensen Wagoner connected with Landon LaPoint down the home sideline to put the Buccs inside the Riverside twenty.
But once again, Covington couldn’t finish the drive due to an untimely penalty.
Riverside then scored twice more on big plays, one a 60-yard bomb and then a 70-yard scoring strike – both from Myles Platfoot to Landon Stewart.
“This game was about four or five plays away from being a twenty-six, twenty-six game,” Morgan explained. “That’s what it is. We’re getting closer and closer to getting there. I wish the season lasted fifteen weeks, because I think in fifteen weeks we would be there.”
Still, the improvement of this young Buccaneer football team is evident.
“I feel we are getting better and better,” he continued. “We moved the ball tonight. We moved the line of scrimmage and some guys were making plays, but we just couldn’t finish.”
People can say what they want on social media and on silly message boards, but Morgan only cares about his players and what he sees in his team.
And what he sees is plenty of fight.
“What is really encouraging to see is the fight,” Morgan said. “The kids never packed it in. The cool thing is, once we get to where we need to get to, we are always going to be adversity ready – response ready.”
And a lot of the credit for that goes to the six seniors.
“The seniors went out and left it all on the field today,” praised Morgan. “There was a lot of emotions for these guys. They played really well today.”
It’s a given that the seniors will give their best next Friday in the season finale at Miami East.
Hopefully the rest of the kids follow their example by maxing out in their own effort in an attempt to send the seniors out in style – with a win.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
BUCCS – 6 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 6
PIRATES – 14 – 13 – 7 – 7 = 41
RIV: Myles Platfoot 35-yd run (PAT Good)
RIV: Landon Stewart 15-yd pass from Myles Platfoot (PAT Good)
COV: Izaiah Sherman (PAT Blocked)
RIV: Myles Platfoot 4-yd run (PAT Failed)
RIV: Myles Platfoot 1-yd run (PAT Good)
RIV: Landon Stewart 60-yd pass from Myles Platfoot (PAT Good)
RIV: Landon Stewart 70-yd pass from Myles Platfoot (PAT Good)