COVINGTON – Arcanum kept it close early Friday night in a Cross County Conference football game at Covington, but the Buccaneers pulled away to win 41-21.
Covington’s improvement showed once again on Friday against Arcanum, although the Trojans came into the contest with just one win.
Arcanum won the coin toss and elected to defer to start the game. Covington then took the opening possession the length of the field for a score – a 3-yard run by sophomore quarterback Cade Schmelzer.
It was a drive that set the tone – a tone of physical football up front mixed in with some big plays through the passing game.
“I thought our line did a good job of staying on their blocks early (in the game),” Covington coach Tyler Cates said. “We did have some mental lapses, though.”
Still, after forcing Arcanum to punt on its next possession, freshman Trenton Alexander gave the Buccaneers excellent field position at the Covington 30. Two plays later Cade Schmelzer connected with senior slot receiver Tyler Freeman on a pretty 66-yard strike to make the score 14-0 after Ethan Herron powered his way over for the two-point conversion.
“I thought we had a great start,” Cates said. “But we have to find some consistency. That’s what’s killing us right now – a lack of consistency.”
The lack of consistency by Covington put Arcanum right back into the game as Daniel Coats broke free on a 65-yard punt return for a score to cut the deficit to 14-6 after one, and then Coats scored on a 12-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion to tie the score at 14-14 early in the second quarter.
“Our special teams killed us on the punt return,” Cates said. “We had all of the momentum and then missed a bunch of tackles on a punt return to allow them to gain some momentum. Then, on defense, we let them drive down and score again. That’s a lack of consistency on our part.”
Fortunately Covington had a game-breaking weapon of its own in senior Ethan Herron, who took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the score and a 21-14 Buccaneer lead.
“Yes, that was a game changer,” Cates said of the kickoff return. “That immediately swung the momentum in our favor.”
That it did as Covington closed out the first half with two more scores – one a 62-yard scoring strike from Schmelzer to senior Bradley Wiggins and a 1-yard run by senior Joey Schmelzer.
This pushed the Buccaneer lead to 34-14 at the break.
“It was nice to see Wiggy (Bradley Wiggins) make a big play,” Cates said. “He’s back from an injury that forced him to miss the first three games, and he’s finally getting healthy. He’s another weapon we need going forward.”
With the game pretty much well in hand to start the second half, the Buccaneers took the air out of the ball in an attempt to shorten the game and prevent any unneeded injuries.
This made for a very quick third quarter as the game remained 34-14 in favor of Covington.
Covington then mixed in junior varsity kids in the fourth quarter but was still able to punch in another touchdown on a 4-yard run by sophomore Gage Kerrigan to push the lead to 41-14.
Arcanum closed out the scoring against the Covington junior varsity squad in the waning moments to make the final score 41-21.
“That’s a lot of points to give up, regardless of the circumstances,” Cates said of the 21 points Arcanum scored against his team. “We still have a lot of work to do in all phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams.”
Arcanum, which now is 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the CCC, will play host to Bethel on Friday in its Homecoming game.
1st – COV: Cade Schmelzer 3-yd run (PAT Failed)
1st – COV: Ty Freeman 66-yd pass from Cade Schmelzer (Ethan Herron Run)
1st – ARC: Daniel Coats 65-yd Punt Return (PAT Failed)
2nd – ARC: Daniel Coats 12-yd run (Daniel Coats Run)
2nd – COV: Ethan Herron 85-yd kick return (Zach Parrett Kick)
2nd – COV: Bradley Wiggins 62-yd pass from Cade Schmelzer (Ethan Herron Kick)
2nd – COV: Joey Schmelzer 1-yd run (PAT Failed)
4th – COV: Gage Kerrigan 4-yd run (Ethan Herron Kick)
4th – ARC: Evan Atchley 3-yd run (PAT Good)