• Post category:2023 SEASON
Garrett Leistner is congratulated by Day’Lynn Garrett after scoring a touchdown against Bethel. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo

BRANDT – The Covington Buccaneers, which is a very young football team, showed significant improvement on Friday despite a 29-6 loss to a very talented Bethel team. The Buccaneers knew Bethel would be a huge challenge because the Bees are much better than their overall record due to the stiff completion they played in the first four weeks of the season.

Still, Covington displayed grit, toughness and maximum effort in all four quarters despite making some mistakes that hurt its chances of capturing the first victory of the season.

The first mistake for the Buccs came after their opening possession resulted into a punt that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Bethel’s Lucas Truman. The Buccs then made another miscue moments later on a bad snap that resulted in a safety that gave the Bees a 9-0 lead.

Bethel had a huge advantage in the first quarter with field position as the majority of the plays were in Buccaneer territory. But the Buccs played extremely tough defensively by stopping the Bees from scoring again on a fourth-and-goal at the two.

The Buccs moved the ball to the 15 to give themselves room to get off a punt, but Bethel was able to take advantage of the field position by scoring on a 33-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cooper Mears to push its lead to 15-0 early in the second quarter.

Covington continued to battle and put itself in scoring position with a well executed drive led by freshman quarterback Landin Cassel, who ignited the drive with a 23-yard run into Bethel territory. Cassel them rolled out to his right and connected on a perfectly executed pass to sophomore Day’Lynn Garrett for a 33-yard touchdown strike. Unfortunately, the touchdown was called back due to a penalty by the Buccs.

Later in the first half Bethel marched down the field into scoring position, but Buccaneer junior Kian French made a huge defensive play by intercepting a pass inside the five.

Trailing 15-0 at the break, Bethel received the ball to start the second half and the Buccs had the Bees backed up on a third-and-15 situation. Unfortunately, the Bees were able to make a big play to keep the drive alive and eventually scored on an 18-yard pass from Cooper Mears to Lucas Truman to take a 22-0 lead with 7:49 left in the third.

With Landin Cassel out of the lineup due to an injury suffered in the final minutes of the first half, junior quarterback Kian French sparked the Buccaneers on a well executed drive that moved the ball inside the Bethel red zone. But, in another unfortunate situation, the Buccaneers turned the ball over to Bethel via a fumble, which ended another scoring threat.

Bethel then moved the ball to Covington’s side of the field, but the Buccaneer defense stuffed a Bethel runner on a fourth-and-one situation to take over the ball at the 45.

A 35-yard run by Kian French and another first down run by Derrick Meyer set Covington up inside the Bethel twenty once again. The Bees were able to stop Covington on fourth-and-two to end yet another scoring opportunity for the Buccs at the 13.

Bethel moved the ball methodically down the field, but freshman Filip McMaken interception a pass in the end zone to prevent further damage as the third quarter came to a close.

Covington punted the ball back to the Bees after a three-and-out and Bethel was able to push its lead to 29-0 with a one-yard run by Remi Brannan with 3:44 left in the game.

Many teams would pack it in, but the Buccaneers never wavered in their effort and intensity when the final outcome wasn’t in their favor.

The Buccs started at their own twenty and drove the ball deep into Bethel territory to put themselves in scoring position once again. This time the Buccs were able to capitalize on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Kian French to Garrett Leistner. The point-after attempt failed to make the score 29-6.

Bethel then ran out the clock on the ensuing possession.

Overall, the Buccaneers played their best football of the season, but just couldn’t find a way to finish drives when they battled their way inside the red zone. Four times the Buccs were in scoring position, but managed to only score once.

Plus, a Buccaneer touchdown was called back due to a penalty.

If Covington would have been able to take advantage each scoring opportunity, five touchdowns for the Buccs would have went on the scoreboard.

The overall improvement for Covington was on display. The next step is finding a way to capitalize on opportunities.

Freshman Brock Lyons fires off the ball to rush the passer. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo
Kian French delivers a pass against Bethel on Friday. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo
Day’Lynn Garrett heads toward the end zone after making a catch. Unfortunately his touchdown was negated by a penalty. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo