By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — It wasn’t the Fourth of July, but there were plenty of fireworks for the Covington Buccaneers on Friday as the offense racked up 431 yards of total offense and score points in rapid fashion in defeating Arcanum 49-21 in front of the hometown fans.
“Our kids just kept making plays after plays and I’m very proud of them,” said Covington coach Ty Cates. “Our seniors have led us so much and make those great plays. You can think of how many crucial situations we made big plays on offense and defense, so I’m very proud of the kids.”
Covington did get off to a sluggish start, however.
“I didn’t think we came out as fired up as much as I wanted us to come out,” explained Cates. “But the way we finished at the end of the first half to put that score up there, I think that was huge momentum and I think our kids really responded to their (Arcanum’s) touchdown early. It was a close game early, but as the game went on our kids just making plays after plays.”
Covington punted on the opening possession of the game and then forced Arcanum to punt on its first possession.
The Buccaneers then cashed in on its second possession after Nathan Blei connected with Tristin Sowers down the Arcanum sideline to keep the drive alive on a huge third down play.
Blei capped the effort with an eight-yard touchdown run to give the Buccs a 7-0 lead.
“We started out a little shaky, but cleaned some things up,” said Blei. “A lot of times I can just throw it up (to the 6-5, 200 lb. Sowers) and he can go get it. That makes my job easier.”
What also makes Blei’s job easier is when a player can make a spectacular catch, which is what senior Branden Robinson was able to do on Covington’s next possession.
Perched at the Trojan 39, Robinson hauled in a Blei pass in stride with one hand for the touchdown and a 14-0 Buccaneer lead late in the first quarter.
“I was expecting a lob (pass) and it was more of a bullet,” Robinson explained. “When I turned around the ball was right there and I just reacted.”
Arcanum wasn’t about to go down easy as it drove the length of the field on the ensuing drive and cut into the Buccaneer advantage with a five-yard pass from Pierce Lindemuth to Isaiah Krauss to cut the margin to 14-7.
But Covington responded quickly as Blei scored on a one-yard run and then connected with Robinson once again, this time tossing a perfectly placed pass for a 67-yard scoring strike and a 28-7 lead at the break.
“What really impressed me is he struggled a little bit early and was able to get into a groove and fight through that adversity,” said Cates of Blei, who threw for 204 yards and four scores and ran the ball in for two more touchdowns. “Obviously, he has some pretty nice targets to throw too when you have those big targets and then Branden making that one-handed catch – I mean, it’s pretty nice to throw to guys like that.”
Robinson finished with two catches for 105 yards and two scores and also ran for 31 yards on three carries – all coming in the first half as he was held out of action in the second half after suffering a minor injury on the second half kickoff.
And with the hot hand of Nathan Blei and his receivers, sitting Robinson out was a smart decision as Covington put the game away in the second half.
First, Blei hit Sowers on a nine-yard scoring strike and then the senior signal caller scored on a seven-yard run early in the fourth.
From there, the younger kids took over as Covington cruised to the 49-21 win to improve to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the CCC on the young season.
The Buccaneers travel to Mississinawa Valley next Friday.