COVINGTON – Friday night was a great opportunity for the Covington Buccaneers to gauge the amount of improvement that has been made over the course of the season as they faced rival Bradford for the second time.
In the first meeting on September 2nd, the Buccaneers won 24-6. Friday, the Buccaneers won by the score of 34-6.
But the final score wasn’t the measure of improvement Covington has made. The measuring stick was the execution.
“Tonight you could definitely see how much these kids have improved throughout the season,” said Covington coach Austin Morgan. “We saw a lot of improvement last week against Lehman, but to the casual observer it was hard to see. Tonight you could see it.”
The biggest improvements Covington has made was in the two-minute offense and taking the right steps to put themselves in position to make plays.
“We made huge strides in those two areas,” agreed Morgan. “Our line has gotten better and better and our two-minute offense has improved dramatically. We haven’t had many opportunities to run our two-minute offense this year, so it was good to have those opportunities tonight.”
There are still more areas the Buccaneers need to improve.
One is finishing drives in the red zone.
“We have to get better in the red zone and at the goal line,” Morgan explained. “We had three drives in the first half where we reached the red zone and failed to score.”
The other area of much needed improvement is giving one-hundred-percent effort on every play.
“If you want to be good you have to come out and play hard every single play,” Morgan said. “We didn’t do that to start the second half. We lacked focus and didn’t give maximum effort in the first few minutes after halftime.”
Bradford received the opening kickoff and moved the ball near midfield with a pair of first downs. But the Buccaneer made a stop and freshman Day’Lynn Garrett returned a punt 47 yards for a score to give the Buccs a 7-0 lead.
Garrett then followed with an interception to give Covington great field position and the Buccs moved the ball inside the ten for a first-and-goal situation.
But the Bradford defense stiffened and held the Buccaneers on fourth down just inches from the goal line.
On the very next play Bradford’s Garrett Trevino broke through the line and raced 99 yards for the score to cut the margin to 7-6 as the two-point run attempt fell short.
Covington responded with a well executed drive that was capped by a five-yard scoring run by DeAnthony Bennett to push the Buccaneer advantage to 14-6 with 1:55 left in the half.
The Buccaneers then recovered an onside kick and immediately went into its two-minute offense. Nearly perfectly executed, quarterback Kian French connected with Day’Lynn Garrett on a pretty pass down the Bradford sideline to set the Buccaneers up inside the Bradford 30.
A couple plays later, French found Garrett Leistner in the back of the end zone on a 23-yard scoring strike to give the Buccaneers a 21-6 lead at the break.
Covington received the opening kickoff in the second half and turned the ball over via fumble. Fortunately the Covington defense held, but the Buccs shot themselves in the foot with three penalties, which ultimately led to the only punt by Covington in the contest.
Unsatisfied with the lethargic effort, the Buccaneers finally got things going again on their next offensive possession after Derrick Meyer picked off a Bradford pass and returned the ball to near midfield.
Senior Brian Morrison was the workhorse on the drive and capped the effort with a three-yard run up the gut to increase Covington’s lead to 27-6 with 1:55 left in the third.
After another defensive stop, Covington capped the 34-6 win with an 18-yard touchdown run by DeAnthony Bennett.
“I want to give Bradford credit,” Morgan said. “Their kids played hard and it was good they agreed to play us again. They have some talented, young kids over there. Hopefully we can keep the tradition of playing them going. We have a lot of respect for them.”
It was a game that almost never happened due to the difficulty of finding officials. Fortunately, due to the hard work of the school officials, enough referees were found for the game to be played.
With the win the Buccaneers improve their record to 2-5 on the season. Covington closes out the 2022 season next week against Miami East on the home field.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington – 7 – 14 – 6 – 7 = 34
Bradford – 0 – 6 – 0 – 0 = 6
COV – Day’Lynn Garrett 47-yd punt return. (Nevin Bowling Kick)
BRA – Garrett Trevino 99-yd run. (Run Failed)
COV – DeAnthony Bennett 5-yd run. (Nevin Bowling Kick)
COV – Garrett Leistner 23-yd pass from Kian French. (Nevin Bowling Kick)
COV – Brian Morrison 3-yd run. (Kick Failed)
COV – DeAnthony Bennett 18-yd run. (Nevin Bowling Kick)