By Ben Robinson
ARCANUM — For the second time in consecutive days, the Covington Buccaneers were forced to make a trip to Arcanum thanks to the thunderstorms that passed through the area on Friday night – forcing the game to be moved to Saturday.
And when the Buccs arrived, dark clouds slowly rolled through once again on what was a hot, humid night – forcing yet another delay to the action that was scheduled to start at 6:00pm.
Fortunately, after scaling down the pre-game warmup to 30 minutes, the Buccaneers and Trojans finally got the game under way at 6:45 p.m.
And the Trojans waisted little time putting the first points on the board as senior quarterback Daniel O’Donnell took what appeared to be broken play 65 yards to the house on the first offensive snap of the game. The point-after attempt was off the mark, but doubt spread through the Covington faithful like the plague.
“Coming off a tough loss to a good football team last week, that’s not the start we wanted,” said Covington coach Dave Miller. “But the kids kept their composure and moved on to the next play.”
O’Donnell’s run would be the final highlight for Arcanum as Covington established the line of scrimmage on the ensuing possession. Starting at their own 18, the Buccs put together a 15-play, 81-yard drive that took nearly 9:00 off the clock – a drive capped with a two-yard scoring plunge by Ethan Herron and the point-after by Nathan Blei for a 7-6 lead.
“What a great response,” Miller praised of his kids. “The kids stayed focused and executed.”
The Buccaneer defense forced a three-and-out and took over the ball near its own 40 to start the second quarter.
And on the fifth play of the possession the Buccaneers used the big play to put their second touchdown on the board as Ethan Herron broke loose from 51 yards out to push the margin to 14-6.
Sparked the the big play by the offense, the Buccaneer defense made a big play of its own as Lance Miller punched the ball out of the throwing hand of Arcanum quarterback Daniel O’Donnell and senior Noah Thomas was “Jonny on the spot” with the interception – giving the Buccs the ball at the Trojan 28.
Six plays later Miller powered his way in from the three to push the Buccaneer advantage to 21-6.
After a nice return to near midfield on the ensuing kickoff, Arcanum moved the ball into Buccaneer territory for just the second time in the first half.
But Covington was able to hold on a fourth-and-nine attempt to take the ball over at its own 40.
Six plays later the Buccaneers were in the end zone once again as Herron ran it in from the seven to make the score 28-6.
Covington had one more chance to score before the half after a pooch kick bounced off an Arcanum player and into the waiting arms of Zane Barnes gave the Buccs the ball back in Trojan territory with 32 seconds left in the half.
The Buccaneers attempted a 39-yard field goal to close out the half, but the kick sailed wide left as the two teams headed to the locker room with the score 28-6 in Covington’s favor.
“I’m proud of the way the kids responded to the adversity from the past week,” Miller said. “Coming off of last week’s game where we feel we didn’t have our best showing and to have the weather delays, the kids didn’t bat an eye.”
Any hope for Arcanum to mount a comeback was dashed on the opening possession of the second half as the Buccaneers ate up 7:00 of the clock on 12 plays to put the game away with a nine-yard scoring run by Herron.
From there, it was a matter of preventing the big play on defense and protecting the football on offense, which the Buccaneers were able to do in claiming the 35-6 win.
In all, Covington had 35 minutes of time of possession and chewed with 375 yards on the ground and 25 first downs.
“That’s the name of the game,” said Miller in regards to time of possession. “That’s what we’re all about.”
And leading the way was an offensive line that was challenged during the week.
“Our guys up front were challenged and they responded to it very well,” Miller praised. “I felt we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football.”
Arcanum finished with 168 yards of offense – just 103 coming after the opening play of the game.
“Defensively, the kids got after it,” Miller said. “We gave up the big play, but other than that it was a good defensive effort.”
With the ship righted after a season-opening defeat a week ago, the Buccaneers look forward to taking the next step this week in practice in preparation for next Friday’s home opener against Mississinawa Valley.
“There are things we need to clean up, that’s for sure,” Miller said. “We didn’t turn the ball over, but we did put the ball on the ground three times. We’ll look at the film, get the kids in on Monday and get back to work.”
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