COVINGTON – Smith Field was the site of this Cross County Conference opener for both schools as Covington defeated Arcanum 49-21 Friday night.
The Buccs expanded a 14-7 lead over a six-minute span between the second and third quarters to a 35-7 advantage with 10:23 remaining in the third period from which the Trojans could not recover.
Senior quarterback Nathan Blei led the Covington offensive attack by throwing for four touchdowns on 7-of-14 passing and contributed two rushing touchdowns. Fullback Lance Miller paced the Buccs ground game by gaining 54 yards on 12 carries.
“Covington is a good football team, a good program,” Arcanum football coach T J Powers said. “The first quarter we came out with a lot of fight. We kind of had some things happen, gave up some big plays. Offense struggled to get in a rhythm.”
After trading three-and-outs, Covington started a drive on its own 45 with 8:50 remaining in the first quarter. The Buccs were aided in this possession by a third down pass interference penalty that helped to continue the series. Covington took advantage and turned it into an 8-yard touchdown pass from Blei to Zach Parrett. The PAT was good, making the score 7-0 Covington.
The Trojans took the ensuing kickoff and held the ball for five minutes moving the ball to the Buccs’ 15-yard line. A holding penalty set back Arcanum, and the Trojans were stopped on fourth down.
Both defenses stiffened until 7:48 remained in the half when Blei connected with slot receiver Brandon Robinson on a 39-yard touchdown giving Covington a 14-0 lead.
Arcanum immediately answered back with a scoring drive of its own. Set up by runs from junior running back Daniel Coats and senior quarterback Pierce Lindemuth, the Trojans found the end zone 4:13 before the intermission when Lindemuth connected with Brandon Kinney on a 10-yard touchdown draw Arcanum to within one score at 14-7.
This is where the Covington surge hit the Trojans. With 1:53 remaining Blei scored from the 1-yard line to make the score 21-7. After a quick Trojan three-and-out the Buccs struck via the long pass as Blei hooked up with Robinson, this time for 66 yards, to push the Covington advantage to 28-7 at the half.
Arcanum came out in the second half looking to change momentum but could not as the Trojans fumbled on the first play of the half, giving the ball to the Buccs. Four minutes later, Blei found Tristin Sowers for a 9-yard score to give Covington a 35-7 lead.
The score remained the same until early in the fourth when Arcanum mounted a drive from its own 16-yard line. A completion from Lindemuth to Kinney moved the chains and set up a 43-yard touchdown strike from Lindemuth to Wade Meeks, drawing the Trojans to a 35-14 deficit.
“Our plan is to throw it a little bit more this year with our offensive arsenal,” Coach Powers said. “We had to try and get some quick, big plays.”
Lindemuth was 8-of-15 for 172 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Austin Fourman led Trojan rushers with 75 yards while Meeks topped the receiving corps with five catches for 131 yards.
“I love this team,” Powers said. “Going to keep coaching them up. Keep battling. A lot of football left to play this year.”