Covington dropped the season opener to St. Henry, but there were so many positives the Buccaneers can take away from the game to build on for the remainder of the season and beyond.
COVINGTON – When looking at the final score of 50 to 0 in favor of St. Henry over Covington, surely there will be criticism toward the Buccaneers from critics who don’t have a clue of the adversity this young team consisting of hard nosed and determined kids is facing.
But in the grand scheme of things, there were so many positives for Covington regardless of what the scoreboard read.
“Definitely,” agreed Covington coach Austin Morgan. “There were a lot of positives for us. People will look at the scoreboard and say what they want to say – and that’s fine. But the people who know football and understand the game – they see the positive things our kids did tonight.”
The biggest positive was how hard the Buccaneers played for four quarters.
“Going into the game we wanted the kids to play green,” Morgan explained. “It’s like a stoplight – red, yellow, green. Red means stop or quit, yellow means not going hard and green means go as hard as you can. These kids played green tonight.”
It was apparent from the outset that St. Henry is a talented and experienced football team with much more experience and depth than a young Buccaneer squad. The Redskins scored on their opening possession, but the Buccaneers made them earn every yard.
“Our kids came out fighting, which was good to see because we are young and St. Henry is a very good football team with a strong tradition,” said Morgan. “I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I think it took them ten plays to score.”
Covington’s youth and inexperience showed on its first three offensive possessions as an interception was returned 23 yards for a touchdown and the Buccaneers turned the ball over via a fumble at their own 15 on the first offensive play on their second possession where St. Henry capitalized with a five-yard scoring run. The Redskins then blocked a Buccaneer punt for a safety to make the score 22-0.
Then, on the kick after the safety, St. Henry raced 54 yards on the return to push its advantage to 29-0.
In all, the Redskins scored 23 points in the span of five minutes by taking advantage of miscues by the Buccaneers.
“We made some mistakes, which happens when you are playing a lot of freshmen and sophomore for the first time,” Morgan explained. “But what matters is how you respond to those mistakes. Do you hang your head and feel sorry for yourself or do you continue to play hard and fight? These kids continued to do that, play hard and fight.”
The Buccaneers continued to play extremely hard, which eventually led to positive results.
First, freshman Day’Lynn Garett made very nice play defending a St. Henry pass as he knocked the ball into the air and in to the hands of teammate Jack Blumenstock for an interception.
Later, after St. Henry returned a punt to the Buccaneer four, freshman Zane Lemp stuffed a Redskin runner in the backfield and then sophomore Garrett Leistner sacked the Redskin quarterback to end the scoring threat at the 15.
“We made a lot of plays that will probably go unnoticed because of the final outcome,” Morgan said. “These kids showed a lot of grit and toughness tonight against a really good football team.”
Yes, there was a bad five minute stretch for Covington in the first quarter, but over the majority of the contest the Buccaneers made a very good St. Henry team earn every yard and every point.
It’s because these kids are tough, determined and have bought into the culture Austin Morgan is establishing at Covington.
Which in time will lead to different numbers showing up on the scoreboard.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Buccs – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 = 0
‘Skins – 35 – 7 – 0 – 8 = 50
SH – Harrison Wendel 1yd run (PAT Failed)
SH – Nolan Kunkter 23yd interception return (PAT Good)
SH – Harrison Wendel 5yd run (PAT Good)
SH – Punt blocked for Safety
SH – Logan Denan 54yd kick return (PAT Good)
SH – Elijah Horstman 57yd run (PAT Failed)
SH – Chase Litmer 2yd run (PAT Good)
SH – Charlie Werling 10yd run (2pt Pass Good)