By Ben Robinson
EATON — Covington traveled to Eaton on Friday for a stiff test against the Eagles in the second of three scrimmages before the season opener two Fridays from now against St. Henry.
And what the Buccaneer players came away with was the realization of just how good this team can be when it executes with precision and focus — and how bad this team can be when it doesn’t pay close attention to the basic details of football.
Yes, it was an up and down effort by Covington, one where it looked very impressive on one play and then mistake prone on the very next play — a lack of consistency on both sides of the ball.
Consider, Covington received the ball first to open two ten-play series for both offenses and drove the ball inside the five with two plays left. But the Buccs weren’t able to punch it in, stopped inside the one on the last play on what would have been fourth down.
Then, appearing like a young team not being able to put the circumstances of failing to cash in behind them, Covington’s defense was a benefactor to Eaton on its first possession with missed tackles. The Eagles scored in seven plays before the Buccs stiffened during the final three plays of the ten-play series.
Covington then failed to get much going offensively on its second ten-play possession, reaching just across midfield on the possession.
But this time the defense stepped up its game by forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Buccs on the sixth play.
With the rules of the scrimmage, Eaton retained the ball and scored on the very next play on a long pass play as the receiver broke two tackles in the secondary to reach the end zone.
From there, the junior varsity teams received two offensive possessions each.
Covington held Eaton scoreless on both of its possessions, one coming on an interception by freshman Cade Harshbarger and the other being halted at the Buccaneer forty.
The Buccaneers moved the ball well in its first possession, but could’t reach the end zone. But the second possession did result into a score on the ninth play as freshman Bradley Wiggins got behind the Eagle defense to haul in a 30-yard touchdown pass.
With the junior varsity squads being done for the evening, the varsity units went back onto the field for a half of down-and-distance.
Covington once again received the ball first and failed to gain a first down on three straight plays, which forced a punt to Eaton.
And the Eagles waisted little time reaching the end zone on a 42-yard run on its fifth offensive play — a running play up the middle for the score.
But what Covington can build on is the fact that this young group of kids are gritty and determined as evident by the ensuing possession.
After moving the ball from from its own 25 to the Eaton 40 on four plays, junior Jarred Williams found a crease on the left side for a 40-yard touchdown run to tie the score at 7-7 after the point-after attempt was true.
After allowing a first down on the first play of Eaton’s next possession, the Buccaneer Defense stiffened to force a punt, giving the ball back to the offense. And Jarred Williams got Covington rolling once again with a 47-yard run on third down to put the ball at the Eagle 24.
Four plays later Williams dove in from the one to give Covington a 14-7 lead in the game situation portion of the scrimmage.
Covington then had a golden opportunity to seal the scrimmage on a high note on the second offensive play of the ensuing possession. Unfortunately, a sure interception was dropped by the Buccs, giving Eaton new life.
And the Eagles made Covington pay by driving 11 plays for a seven-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 14-13 in the game situation portion of the scrimmage.
Covington was able to finish on a high note as it blocked the attempt for a point-after.
In the end, the Buccaneers must be happy with the way they battled back from adversity, but disappointed with the missed tackles and assignment miscues.
These issues will be a point of emphasis as Covington looks to prepare for the final scrimmage at home against Versailles next Friday.