Friday night’s contest against Riverside was the final game on Smith Field for seniors Derrick Meyer and Garrett Hobbs and longtime athletic trainer Brian Downs, which made it a very emotional night for the Covington Buccaneers.
COVINGTON – Every year there is one night where tears roll down the faces of the players who put so much time and effort into their high school football careers. That night is always the final game for the seniors on Smith Field, which is what Derrick Meyer and Garrett Hobbs faced on Friday night against Riverside.
Both of those seniors have made a huge impact on the program with their attitudes, work ethic and leadership, which led to the entire team embracing them after the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Plus, what made the evening even more emotional was the fact that it was the final night on Smith Field for Covington’s longtime athletic trainer Brian Downs – a person who has helped so many Covington kids in all sports over the years.
The final score of 51-7 in Riverside’s favor wasn’t what the Buccaneers had hoped for, but it was obvious that the Pirates were the best team in the TRC the Buccs had faced to this point of the season. Covington knew Riverside was stacked in all phases prior to the game, but the players and coaches were excited about the challenge the Pirates presented.
And the Buccs, who are a young team, left every ounce of energy they had on the field – which was sparked by seniors Derrick Meyer and Garrett Hobbs. Both players played their hearts out and their effort filtered down to the rest of the team.
Still, Riverside was able to build a 42-0 lead at the break due to its overall size, talent and experience. But, the Buccaneers made many plays on the defensive side of the ball that put the Pirates in long distance situations many times. Unfortunately, the Pirates were able to overcome situations where they were behind the chains.
On Riverside’s first possession the Buccs had the Pirates facing a third-and-ten, but Riverside was able to break loose on a 38-yard touchdown run.
After Riverside pushed its lead to 14-0, Covington had the Pirates in a fourth-and-nine situation on Riverside’s side of the field. Once again Riverside was able to make a big play for a first down and then scored a few plays later to take a 21-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff the Buccs started their next possession at their own five and were forced to punt after three straight plays. Day’Lynn Garrett then recovered a fumble by Riverside on the punt return, which gave the Buccaneers the ball on their own 29.
Unfortunately, on the first play the Pirates intercepted a Buccaneer pass and returned it to the one. Riverside scored on the next play to push its lead to 28-0.
Covington continued to battle and had a big play on its next possession. Unfortunately the play was negated by a penalty, which ended the threat.
Riverside was able to take advantage of a short field by scoring again to push its lead to 35-0.
After punting the ball back to Riverside on their next possession, the Buccaneer defense recorded two straight sacks by freshman Trenton Havenar and sophomore Mason Epperson to put the Pirates in a third-and-23 situation.
Riverside was able to hit a big play that resulted into a first down and two plays later the Pirates scored once again to take a 42-0 lead at the break.
The second half was played under a running clock and Riverside converted on a 42-yard field goal and followed with a short touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to make the score 51-0.
With just under eight minutes left in the game Riverside inserted its second unit and the young Buccaneers dominated the remainder of the game. It ended with a 23-yard touchdown run by freshman Landon Cassel and a successful extra point by freshman Filip McMaken to put the Buccs on the board. It provided a glimpse of what the future will be if the players stay together and keep working hard.
Overall, the score is what it is, but the progression of this young Covington football team is obvious. This is a great group who battles extremely hard regardless of the circumstances.
The next opportunity for improvement is the final game of the season next week at longtime rival Miami East.