The Covington football team made a vow of silence during preseason conditioning that it’s since shattered with a raucous regular season.
Football is important in this part of Miami County and the Buccs current roster ranks right around rock-star status.
Covington recently completed its third straight undefeated high school regular season, which led to the program’s 17th playoff berth and 27th league title. The Buccs, who won the Cross County Conference, beat Dixie 55-18 last week in the opening round of the Division V, Region 20 playoffs. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Covington (11-0) plays Cincinnati Summit Country Day (11-0) at Centerville.
Expect a light show (on the scoreboard) and fireworks (on the field) from Covington.The Buccs set school records for total yards (5,249), rushing yards (5,035) and points (598) in a season, the latter of which had been in place since 1960.
More? There’s plenty:
- In Week 2, Covington rushed for a school record 556 yards vs. Mississinawa Valley.
- In Week 3, senior receiver Troy Cron returned a kickoff a school-record 99 yards vs. Bethel.
- In Week 8, Covington’s 84 points vs. National Trail tied the 1965 team for the second most in school history.
- In Week 9, junior running back A.J. Ouellette broke the school’s single-season rushing record. He’s also set single-season records for rushing touchdowns (38), total TDs (43) and points in a season. A starter as a freshman, Ouellette broke his collarbone in Week 2 last year and missed the rest of the season.
“We’ve got a great group of kids who have bought into the team mentality and that’s not something that necessarily always happens,” Covington head coach David Miller Jr. said. “You look at A.J.’s success and it would be easy for him to have an inflated ego but he’s one of the most team-oriented players I’ve ever been around and that’s what defines this team.”
The Buccs are on a self-imposed sabbatical. No players are allowed to talk to the media. No individual statistics are being released. No access is being granted beyond the head coach.
The theme is “Team Unity.” The quirk has worked.
“It’s based on the 1972 Miami Dolphins and their ‘No-Name Defense’ ” Miller said. “It was something that we all kind of rallied around and adopted for the whole team.”
The Buccs defense allowed 60 points during a regular season in which only two teams – Arcanum (252) and Twin Valley South (212) – had over 200 yards of offense. Mississinawa Valley (17) and Tri-County North (91) – had less than 100.
Covington held National Trail to minus-45 yards rushing and Mississinawa Valley to minus-one yard passing. Both are among the school’s top three all-time performances.
Special teams? They’ve been just that.
In addition to Cron’s record-setting kick return, Ouellette has five kick returns for TDs, including an 89-yard punt return that’s the second-longest in school history. Covington can employ three capable kickers: Ouellete (22 PATs), Bobby Alexander (42 PATs) and Cole Owens (six PATs).
Then there’s the offense. Influenced by time Miller spent with the staff at Hilliard Davidson during the offseason, the Buccs have run for over 500 yards five times.
“It’s been special,” Miller said. “I keep telling the kids to keep focused because one of these days we’re going to face an opponent whose going to push us. So far no one has, but we know it’s coming.”
Including its run to the Class A state final in 1979, when only one team per region made the playoffs, Covington’s postseason record is 12-16. Seven of its losses have come to teams from the Midwest Athletic Conference. Last year it was Coldwater, 31-7, in the first round.
A potential rematch with the undefeated and top-ranked Cavaliers – something message boards indicate many want to see – looms in Week 13.
“Believe me, there’s been more than one conversation about (Coldwater) and the MAC,” Miller said. “Our stance, however, has been that regardless of who is out there we have to get through the next opponent. In that sense we’ve taken the approach that we’re facing a nameless opponent every week.”
Anonymity is something that will escape this Covington team.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.