By Josh Brown
ANSONIA — With the No. 1 seed in the Division VII, Region 28 playoffs already locked up and facing a two-win team, undefeated Covington could have easily sleepwalked through its Week 10 game.
Instead, the Buccaneers (10-0, 8-0 Cross County Conference) came out strong, took control and let its younger players finish things off, finishing an unbeaten regular season with a dominant 63-16 victory at Ansonia and clinching the Cross County Conference championship outright.
The Buccs pulled out to a 28-0 lead by the end of one and a 49-0 lead at halftime, leaving no questions. Lance Miller began things with a 63-yard run, then Nathan Blei returned a blocked punt 31 yards for a score. Branden Robinson scored on a 2-yard run and then returned a punt 70 yards to give Covington a four-touchdown lead, putting things out of reach after only 12 minutes.
Kodie Taylor then scored on a 1-yard run, Robinson caught a 24-yard touchdown from Blei and Miller caught a 23-yard score from Blei to make it 49-0 at the break. Ansonia finally scored in the third, but Ty Freeman answered with a 60-yard touchdown. The Tigers got one more score in the fourth quarter, but Andrew Cates took in a 10-yard touchdown run to cap things off.
Covington will host a first-round playoff game on Nov. 5, with its opponent to be finalized on Sunday.
Troy Christian 63,
Miss. Valley 0
TROY — Troy Christian had already locked up the No. 2 seed in Division VII, Region 28 for the postseason and was finishing the season against a winless team.
So instead of the competition, the Eagles tried to play its finale with an abstract concept in mind.
“We tried to play against the idea of perfection,” Troy Christian coach Ryan Jones said. “We wanted to hold ourselves to that standard. You try to focus on getting better and improving.”
Troy Christian (9-1) finished the season with as close to a perfect game as possible, scoring 42 points in the first quarter and routing Mississinawa Valley (0-10) 63-0 Friday night to enter the playoffs on a five-game winning streak.
Quarterback Hayden Hartman had three passing touchdowns and a defensive one in the first quarter alone. He started things off with a 30-yard touchdown to Peyton Spurlock, then he hit Jacob Brown for a 49-yard score. Hartman then grabbed a touchdown of his own, intercepting a Mississinawa Valley pass and taking it back for a score. Jacob Calvert then scored rushing touchdowns of 30 and 4 yards, and Hartman and Brown hooked up on a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 42-0 after the first 12 minutes.
Hartman threw a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, a 15-yarder to Brown and an 8-yarder to Cameron Strine, before mass substitutions began for the Eagles. Lear Current scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter as Troy Christian put it away.
“We were able to get the lead and put some of our younger guys in,” Jones said. “That was valuable for those guys. They work their tails off all year just like everyone else on the team, and without a freshman or a JV team, that’s a tough situation for them sometimes. You’ve got to be really dedicated, and those guys are. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to those younger guys for the effort they’ve put in all year and preparation, and I was glad to see them get on the field and do very well.”
Troy Christian will host a first-round playoff game on Nov. 5, with its opponent to be finalized Sunday.
WEST MILTON — It could have been difficult for Milton-Union to get pumped for a finale against a winless Waynesville team.
But the Bulldogs took care of business on their home field, routing Waynesville 56-7 to finish the season with a 7-3 record, second place in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division at 5-1 and clinch its second straight home game in the first round of the Division V, Region 20 playoffs.
“It means a lot. We took another step forward this year,” Milton-Union coach Mark Lane said. “We went from 6-4 to 7-3, and any time you can take a step forward it’s huge for your program.”
Zac Shields had a big night, running the ball for 198 yards and four touchdowns on 11 carries, Krue Thwaits added 66 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries and Blake Smith had 147 yards and a touchdown on seven carries as the Bulldogs ran for 466 yards as a team. Zach Vagedes was 3 for 5 passing for 45 yards, with Smith grabbing two passes for 27 yards. The Bulldog defense, meanwhile, only gave up one rushing yard in the game and 174 total yards, grabbing three interceptions and picking off two passes.
We were driving in overtime against Carlisle and didn’t get it. But the kids bounced back at the end of the season and finished strong,” Lane said. “We’ve still got a lot to work for.”
Milton-Union’s first-round opponent, to be played on Nov. 5, will be finalized on Sunday.
Miami East 59,
TV South 0
WEST ALEXANDRIA — Miami East was on the bubble still in Division VI, Region 24 playoff standings entering Week 10.
A 59-0 victory over Twin Valley South, along with having some other things fall their way in other games, helped the Vikings clinch their fifth straight postseason berth Friday night on the road.
“It’s a good feat by the boys,” Miami East coach Max Current said. “We went out and got the job done tonight. I’m proud of them. Five years in a row, we kept the streak alive. They’re really excited, and I’m happy for them.”
Miami East took a 14-0 lead after one, with Arron Adams scoring on a 6-yard run and Justin Brown on a 3-yard run. Brown kicked off the second quarter with an 11-yard touchdown, then Adams threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Brown and Levi Adducchio broke a 69-yard touchdown run to make it 35-0 at the half.
The third quarter went by with no scoring, but the Vikings tacked on four fourth-quarter scores. Colton Kowalak kicked a 25-yard field goal, Bryce Reddick scored on a 2-yard run and Jacob Brown scored on runs of 13 and 17 yards to finish things off.
Adams finished with 191 yards on 19 carries to break the 1,000-yard mark on the season, while Adducchio — who was already a 1,000-yard rusher entering the game — added 86 yards on four carries. Jacob Brown had 40 yards on three carries, Colt Frazier had 35 yards on three carries and Justin Brown had 34 yards on seven carries as the Vikings piled up more than 400 rushing yards in the game. Adams went 2 for 3 passing for 101 yards, with both completions going to Justin Brown.
“Arron needed 156 yards to get to 1,000 for the year, and the line and other backs did a nice job of blocking for him,” Current said. “Levi already had 1,000 yards, so that gives us two 1,000-yard backs.
“We say something on film and executed, came out at the start with an onside kick, Colton Kowalak did a nice job ad Alex Dinardo recovered it. We stole a possession from them, then we got the ball to start the second half with a running clock. That was great execution to start the game.”
Miami East’s first-round opponent will be finalized Sunday.
ARCANUM — Bethel found out Friday that, even when taking a step forward, there’s always a next step.
After clinching its first winning season since 2010 with a Week 9 victory, the Bees went one better Friday night in the finale, defeating Arcanum on the road 30-28 in the most thrilling finish possible. But after the game was over, they found themselves watching the Division VI, Region 24 playoff standings to see if they would get the eighth and final playoff spot — but overnight, as things fell in line, they were eliminated and finished ninth.
“It’s bittersweet,” Bethel coach Scott Clodfelter said. “We’d just got a really huge win, and we’re trying to enjoy that, but we’re also thinking about making the playoffs.”
Against a quality Arcanum team with a deceptively-bad record, the Bees knew they’d be in for a fight — but even they couldn’t have predicted how things would go.
“We trailed the whole game, were down 21-13 with about eight minutes to go,” Clodfelter said. “There was a lot of excitement. We finally got the lead, but they retook the lead late, with about two minutes to go. Traditionally, we don’t come back after that. But these guys toughed it out. I’m pretty proud. This team is learning how to win.”
The Bees grabbed a 27-20 lead with 5:26 remaining in the fourth, but the Trojans scored and converted for two points to take a 28-27 lead with 2:43 left in the game. Bethel got a big play to get to the other side of the field, and Tyler Terry kicked a 35-yard field goal with 1:21 left in the game to retake the lead.
Arcanum wouldn’t give up, though, flipping the field with a big play of its own with roughly 15 seconds remaining. But Bethel’s Ian Anderson blocked an attempt at a game-winning field goal, giving the Bees the win in stunning fashion.
“A guy that had never kicked a field goal in his life kicked the winning field goal for us tonight,” Clodfelter said. “They got to our 10 with abut 15 seconds left, and Ian Anderson blocked it. All of our seniors contributed in some way — and that’s the best part of it. Everyone had a hand in the win. It was nice to see everyone contribute in the big win.”
Bethel finished the season 7-3, 5-3 in the Cross County Conference.
WAYNESFIELD — As expected, the Lehman Cavaliers had no trouble beating Waynesfield-Goshen in the regular season finale Friday night, 42-7.
The win gave Lehman a 7-3, record and the Cavaliers now await their playoff assignment. They will play in a postseason game on Nov. 5. The win also gave Lehman a share of the Northwest Central Conference championship with Upper Scioto Valley.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.