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Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Coldwater's defense shuts down rushing attack of Covington

By Gary R. Rasberry

Coldwater's Christian Schramm, left, and Caleb Siefring, right, combine to tackl. . .

COVINGTON - After slumping in the latter stages of the regular season, Coldwater players knew it was make-or-break time in the postseason opener.
Coldwater's defense secured an early Covington fumble and the Cavs turned it into a touchdown en route to a convincing 31-7 win over the Buccs in the Division V playoff at Smith Field on Friday.
The Cavaliers (8-3) now face long-time rival and Midwest Athletic Conference foe Versailles next Friday at a site to be determined. The Tigers had no trouble in beating Region 20's top-seeded West Liberty-Salem 48-21.
After finishing the regular season with two losses in the final three games, and having a tough time in the lone victory over winless New Bremen, this week was a gut-check week for the Cavaliers.
According to coach Chip Otten, the catalyst for victory came on Thursday night.
"We had a really good captains' meeting on Thursday night," said Otten. "I think something hit them last night. Mr. (Steve) Keller, our principal, came in and challenged them. The seniors, I think it kind of hit them that this might be it for them, it might be their last game."
The fun started quickly as Coldwater recovered a fumble at the Buccs' 15-yard line on Covington's opening drive. Jordan Chapin rushed for 14 yards on the first play. On his next run, Chapin tried to dive over a pile to cross the goal line, but fumbled the ball into the end zone. Fortunately for the Cavaliers, Jake Kramer snagged the ball to put the Coldwater on the scoreboard with a touchdown on the fumble recovery.
Covington answered, using its option offense to move the ball. The Cavaliers' special teams didn't help as Chapin was called for roughing the punter after it appeared the Cavaliers stopped the Buccs. Covington ran eight more plays after the penalty, with Trent Tobias scoring from four yards out to tie the score with 10:44 left in the second quarter.
The Buccs' offense stalled from there as the Cavaliers' defense began to key on running quarterback Isaiah Winston and 1,000-yard fullback Alex Baskerville. The Buccs were held to just 137 rushing yards on 42 carries and Baskerville finished with just 35 yards.
"When a team is one-dimensional, we usually can figure out how to handle them," said Otten.
Troy Otten's 24-yard field goal with just under eight minutes left in the first half gave the Cavaliers the lead for good at 10-7. Drew Klosterman added a one-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds left in the second quarter to send the game to halftime with the Cavaliers up 17-7.
The Cavaliers added second-half insurance by mixing the run with the pass. Chapin took a direct snap on several plays from his running back position while quarterback Austin Bruns added a 33-yard run for a score midway through the third quarter. Bruns then added a three-yard run for a touchdown four minutes later to make the score 31-7.
Coldwater rushed for 144 yards on 28 carries with all four of the Cavaliers' touchdowns coming on the ground. Bruns had 71 rushing yards on 10 carries while Chapin added 50 yards.
"We really couldn't run it up inside," said Otten. "But we could get to the perimeter. Good solid win."
Bruns was 9-of-15 passing for 174 yards with no interceptions, the first time since the Versailles game (in week five) that Bruns did not have a pick.
"Austin probably had his best game of the year," said Otten. "He had excellent throws and runs."
Josh Huber had 59 yards receiving and Caleb Siefring added 53 with Aaron Mestemaker tallying 46.
Winston had 23 carries for 78 yards for the Buccs (10-1), who have now lost all seven playoff meetings against MAC schools and are 0-2 lifetime against the Cavaliers (the other loss coming in 1982).
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