By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — It took a while for the Covington Buccaneers to settle down and play the type of physical, relentless football the program has been noted for over it’s seventy-year history.
But by the time Covington got it going, the Milton-Union Bulldogs had already torched the Buccs for two scores in the first ten-play series and had frustrated the Covington offense with four quarterback sacks in its first ten plays.
“We didn’t start have the start we were hoping for, and that’s disappointing,” said Covington coach Ty Cates. “We looked lethargic and way out of sync. We had a lot of mental mistakes.”
Yes, early it looked as though the Buccaneers were confused and unsure of themselves throughout both team’s first ten plays and Milton took advantage of miscues in the Covington secondary with two scoring strikes and then rattled the Buccaneer offensive line by bringing different types of pressures. It made for a very ugly early portion of the scrimmage for the kids in black.
“Our secondary had some breakdowns in coverage and didn’t do a very good job of reading our keys,” Cates explained. “Offensively, we didn’t play well and our line struggled. I take that personally because I coach the offensive line.”
But Covington settled down and started to show signs of what the 2016 season could become throughout the remainder of the scrimmage.
First, the Buccaneer defense held Milton scoreless in its second ten-play series as the secondary corrected the mistakes from earlier in the scrimmage and the defensive front was able to hold the Bulldog running game in check for the most part.
And the Buccaneer offense began to click as it used all ten plays of it’s second ten-play possession to score on a short touchdown strike from Ty Freeman to Zach Parrett in the corner of the end zone.
“That was a good series,” Cates said. “Our offense didn’t play well in the beginning and we started to turn it on.”
The scrimmage then went to a down-and-distance format and Covington held Milton to a three-and-out right off the bat.
The Buccaneer offense then opened things up with a first down strike from Nathan Blei to Joey Schmelzer over the middle and then followed with another first down on a fourth-and-one plunge by Lance Miller.
Another Buccaneer first down on a pass from Blei to Parrett put Covington inside the twenty and then Lance Miller powered his way in from the five four plays later.
“That was a very good drive for us,” praised Cates. “That shows the type of kids we have because they overcame some adversity from not playing well early and then responding like that with a long scoring drive.”
From there, both defenses held the other’s offense on back-to-back possessions to end the varsity portion of the scrimmage.
“This was a good scrimmage for us due to the fact that Milton showed us where our weaknesses are,” Cates said. “We’ll go back and look at the film to see what we need to work on.”
There will be plenty to work on, but Cates is confident his kids will continue to improve with each day.
“I know the kids are disappointed and you can be assured they’ll be ready to come in and correct the mistakes,” Cates summarized. “These kids have high expectations and it’s our job as coaches to do everything in our power to help them achieve those expectations. It’s a process.”
Covington has three practice days to work on its deficiencies before traveling to Eaton on Friday for the second of three full contact scrimmages.