By Ben Robinson
For The Call
WEST MILTON — The Covington Buccaneers took great strides over the summer and through the first week of two-a-days and were looking to take another step forward in the first full contact scrimmage at Milton-Union on Monday.
Covington did show signs of being a very good football team, but killed itself with four fumbles in 20 offensive plays.
“Our backs didn’t do a very good job at all of protecting the football and that’s a priority in our offense,” said Covington coach Dave Miller. “We have a lot of good backs we can go to and if one or two can’t hold onto the football, we’ll go with someone else. The competition is open.”
Each team received two possessions of ten offensive plays and the tone of the scrimmage was set on Covington’s first offensive play as it fumbled on a fullback dive up the middle.
The Buccaneers then started to get some momentum rolling as it moved the ball into Milton territory before fumbling again on the eighth offensive play.
“We moved the ball and had some nice runs, but our backs have to put the ball away,” Miller explained. “Our guys up front worked their butts off and gave us running lanes. It’s a matter of holding onto the football.”
In Covington’s second offensive series, it fumbled once again on the first play at the end of a 30-yard run.
The Buccaneers then moved the ball once again into the Milton side of the 50, but killed its momentum with one final fumble at the Bulldog 40.
Still, The Buccaneers were able to finish the offensive series on a high note with two long runs to move the ball to the Milton 15 before running out of plays.
“We looked pretty good up front,” said Miller. “We had some nice blocking on the edges from our wideouts and were able to move the football.”
Defensively, the Buccaneers put together a solid effort as it forced four turnovers in 20 plays.
“I’m pleased with the defensive effort,” Miller said. “For the most part, I felt the kids did a good job of flying to the football. We made some fundamental mistakes, but those we’ll get corrected.”
In Milton’s first ten-play offensive series, sophomore Ethan Herron picked off a pass and the Buccaneers forced a fumble.
Milton was able to move the ball to the Covington 10 thanks to a 25-yard run and a 15-yard penalty at the end of the run on a late hit.
In Milton’s second ten-play series on offense the Buccaneers recorded an interception by Noah Thomas and forced another fumble before holding the Bulldogs at their own 30 when the ten plays were complete.
“Overall, it wasn’t our best effort by our varsity guys and most of that was due to the fumbles,” said Miller. “We have the potential to be a very dangerous football team, but not if we fail to protect the football. Fortunately, all of the mistakes are correctable.”
After the varsity had its turn, the younger kids took their turn.
And Miller came away very pleased by his youngsters after they put together a methodical drive that resulted in a two-yard plunge by freshman Dimaurye Ewing.
“Our JV guys looked good,” praised Miller. “Our backs ran hard and our guys up front played well. Bryce Kaiser had a heck of a scrimmage. We have to get some of them to play a little lower though.”
The Buccaneer JV’s also performed well at the defensive end, keeping Milton out of the end zone.
“I felt our younger kids got after it,” Miller said. “Yes, they made some fundamental mistakes, but the effort was there. We’ll correct the fundamental mistakes.”
Covington has three days of two-a-day practices to address its mistakes before hosting Eaton on Friday in the second of three scrimmages.