COVINGTON — Covington began Thursday’s matchup of unbeatens against two-time defending Cross County Conference champion Fort Loramie by marching the ball down the field on an impressive touchdown drive.
From there, things took a turn quickly.
Redskin quarterback Collin Moore broke their first play from scrimmage for a 65-yard touchdown run to tie the game, then Fort Loramie went on to put its first four possessions into the end zone to take control for good, pulling away for a 41-7 victory over the Buccaneers Thursday at Covington High School.
The Redskins improved to 4-0 with the win and took a one-game lead over the Buccs with one week to play in their half of the CCC’s schedule.
And Covington, which went 68 yards on 11 plays on the game’s opening possession, only managed 44 yards of offense the rest of the game and fell to 3-1 on the season.
“That was a great drive we put together, and it was good to punch that in,” Covington coach Ty Cates said. “We had some good momentum … and then we just gave up too many big plays. They had a big play to start right away, and we let them have too many big plays. We had opportunities, but we just couldn’t convert.”
The Buccs converted a third down and a fourth down on that opening drive, both on clutch scrambles by quarterback Jensen Wagoner, and eventually Duncan Cooper punched in a 4-yard touchdown run with 6:38 remaining in the first quarter to give Covington a 7-0 lead early.
Moore responded quickly, though, with the first of his three touchdown runs on the night, going 65 yards on the Redskins’ first play from scrimmage to tie the score at 7-7 with 6:27 on the clock. Then after a quick Covington three-and-out, the Redskins went 69 yards in six plays — including a 54-yard pass from Moore to Logan Eilerman — and Moore finished it off with a 3-yard run to make the score 14-7 Fort Loramie with 2:32 left in the opening quarter.
Another three-and-out gave the ball back to the Redskins, who marched 76 yards in 12 plays, with Moore hitting Eilerman with a 7-yard scoring strike to put Loramie up 21-7 with 8:04 until halftime and put the Buccs’ backs firmly up against the wall.
Covington appeared to catch a break on the ensuing possession as Loramie fumbled away a punt return attempt, and David Robinson recovered it to give the ball to the Buccs on the Redskin 28-yard line. But an incompletion on fourth-and-6 from the 24 turned it back over on downs, and three plays later Moore hit Eilerman with a 49-yard touchdown pass to make the score 27-7 with 2:48 on the clock — and that’s where things remained at halftime.
The Buccs stayed in the game throughout the third quarter as penalties on Fort Loramie’s first two possessions stalled the Redskins’ progress. Covington then drove to the Loramie 22-yard line, but a third-down sack pushed the Buccs back to the 29, and they eventually turned it over on downs. Nate Meyer then took the ball 71 yards the other way over three carries, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run on the fourth-quarter’s first play to make it a 34-7 game with 11:55 remaining.
“I think if we would have scored off the turnover early in the game, and again in the third quarter where we had a miscommunication on a second down, if we could have put ourselves in third and short I think we could have put ourselves in a better position to score,” Cates said. “They outplayed us tonight, plain and simple. That’s a good football team, and we made too many mistakes.”
The Redskin defense then picked off a pass on the first play of the Buccs’ next possession, and five plays later, Moore punched in one final 1-yard touchdown to put Loramie up 41-7 and turn on the running clock, and the Redskins wrapped it up from there.
Covington travels to Tri-County North in Week 5 and then will wrap up the regular season in Week 6 against an opponent from the other half of the CCC before entering the playoffs in Week 7.
“We’ll take it one week at a time and continue to get better,” Cates said. “We’ve got to take the right mindset into the film room and get better — and we’ve got a lot to work on. But we’re going to stay the course and stay together.”