By Josh Brown
COVINGTON — Despite entering Friday as the No. 1 team in the state in the latest Division VII poll and having already clinched a home game in the first round of the postseason, the Covington football team managed to remain focused against a two-win team.
Now the Buccaneers’ task going into the regular season’s final week will solely be to remain healthy.
The Buccaneers improved to 9-0 on the season, clinching at least a share of the Cross County Conference title and the No. 1 seed in the D-VII, Region 28 playoffs in the process by dismantling National Trail 41-7 Friday on Senior Night in Covington.
The Buccs (9-0, 7-0 CCC) piled up 417 yards of total offense, split evenly between the run and the pass. Quarterback Nathan Blei hit Joey Schmelzer with a 34-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring, then Carl Lankford scored on a 4-yard run to make it 14-0 after a quarter. Blei then hit Branden Robinson for a 34-yard touchdown pass and Tristin Sowers caught a 9-yard scoring throw from Blei, making it 27-0 at halftime.
Deron White scored on a 3-yard run to make it 34-0 before the Blazers finally got on the board before the end of the third quarter, but Kenny Atkinson scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth and the defense did the rest.
Covington can clinch the CCC title outright with a victory at 2-7 Ansonia.
WEST MILTON — The Milton-Union Bulldogs bounced back from last week’s loss at Carlisle, holding onto the fourth spot in the Division V, Region 20 playoffs with a convincing 55-19 victory at home against Dixie.
Dixie fell to 4-5 with the loss, 2-3 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division — but it was the last chance for the Bulldogs (6-3, 4-1 SWBL Buckeye) to get points for the playoff race. Milton-Union hosts 0-9 Waynesville in Week 10.
BRANDT — The Bethel Bees sealed their first winning season since 2010 Friday night, defeating Ansonia 49-14 in their home finale.
With the win, the Bees improved to 6-3 and 4-3 in Cross County Conference play, holding fast in the No. 10 spot in the Division VI, Region 24 playoff standings. Next week’s opponent, 4-5 Arcanum, could be worth enough points for the Bees to climb two spots and get into the playoffs, but they will need help along the way from the results of the region’s other Week 10 games.
MT. VICTORIA — Lehman (6-3, 5-1 Northwest Central Conference) moved up to the No. 5 spot in the Division VII, Region 28 playoff standings Friday night and now controls its own destiny, routing Ridgemont (3-6) 42-0 on the road.
Lehman finishes the season at 0-9 Waynesfield-Goshen.
NORTHWOOD — Bradford’s three-game winning streak came to an end Friday night as the Railroaders (3-6) were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in a 47-24 loss at Northwood (5-4).
Bradford finishes the season at 6-3 Danville.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.