Monday, November 19th, 2012
By Gary R. Rasberry
Cavaliers' defense shuts out Covington
Division V Regional Final at Dayton's Welcome Stadium
  DAYTON -┬áIt wasn't the best offensive performance for Coldwater, but the Cavaliers' defense made up for it.
The Cavaliers scored all of their points in the first half while the defense played stout and shut out Covington 20-0 to win the Division V Region 20 title on Saturday night at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
Coldwater (13-0) advances to its fourth straight state semifinal, where the Cavaliers will face Liberty-Benton (12-1) on Saturday at Lima Stadium at 7 p.m. The winner moves on to the state championship game on Dec. 1 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
The Eagles intercepted a pair of fourth-quarter passes by Patrick Henry and rallied to beat the Patriots 22-21 at Lima Stadium. The other state semifinal pits defending state champion Kirtland - which rallied from 24 points down to beat Ursuline 38-37 - against Liberty Union, a 20-7 winner over Lucasville Valley, at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.
The Cavaliers' defense shined against the run-oriented Buccs' offense as Coldwater knocked the Cross County Conference champions out of the playoffs for a second straight year.
"We're just physically stout up front," said Coldwater's coach Chip Otten after the game. "That's the first team (Covington) has faced that's been more physical than them. We just played all the phases."
Coldwater got going after the Buccs lost a fumble on a fourth-and-one from the Covington 34-yard line. The Cavaliers' offense mixed in the jet-sweep run along with the rushing and receiving of Jordan Chapin to set up Coldwater's opening score of the game. Austin Bruns fired a six-yard strike to Caleb Sefring just 4 1/2 minutes into the game to put the Cavs on top 7-0.
Covington punted the ball away after getting no further than its 40-yard line on its next possession. The Buccs were also stout on defense as a sack on Bruns had Coldwater looking at third-and-17 from its own 25-yard line. Bruns nearly was taken down for a second straight sack before letting a wild pass fly. Fortunately, Brody Hoying, the deep option on the route, ran back in and turned a wasted down into a 25-yard gain to get Coldwater to the midfield stripe. Bruns then found Siefring again, as the all-district receiver beat the Buccs' coverage and easily scored to make it 14-0 in favor of the Cavs with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
After punting on their next possession, the Cavaliers looked to be stopped at the Buccs' 25-yard line after an incomplete pass, but Covington was called for pass interference, giving Coldwater first-and-10 from the 13. Four plays later, Chapin rushed up the middle for the final yard to put the Cavaliers in control with a 20-0 lead.
From that point on, Coldwater's offense struggled. Bruns was 6-of-8 passing in the second half for 47 yards, but was sacked two more times - for a total of four in the game - as the Cavaliers also lost a pair of fumbles in the final two quarters. Coldwater did not cross midfield in the second half.
Bruns finished the game 17-of-26 passing for 212 yards, but the sacks lowered his rushing total to a negative-four yards on 15 carries.
"Austin didn't have a typical Austin game," said Otten of his senior quarterback. "He missed some throws and we felt we should have had a couple of touchdowns there. A couple of bad penalties set us back. But when you're up 20 against them, that's a tough situation for them. We didn't play quite as efficient as we had been, offensively.
"But when you're scoring 20 and giving up none, you're still moving on."
Coldwater's defense was relentless for all four quarters. Covington's all-district fullback A.J. Ouelette, a 2,000-yard rusher with over 40 touchdowns this season, was bottled up for the most part, tallying just 57 yards on 15 carries. The Buccs had just 146 rushing yards as a team in the contest.
"Our scout team did a great job this week simulating (Covington's) offense," said Otten. "We had a good plan. The defensive coaches - although we all coach defense - (Tim Hoyng), Hemmy (Jason Hemmelgarn), (Randy) Wright, Thad (Forsthoefel), Dan (Kanney), Jeff (Kerr) and myself put together a good play. The guys went to the ball like crazy."
"All week in practice, we worked on being disciplined," said senior linebacker Zach Dickman. "Every guy had to do their job and stop the part of the option they needed to stop."
The coup de grace of the night came at the start of the fourth quarter when the Buccs went on a 12-play drive covering 48 yards while taking nearly six minutes off the clock. It appeared Ouelette was able to snap the shutout on a nine-yard TD run on fourth-and-goal, but the Buccs were flagged for a holding penalty and were pushed back to the 14-yard line. A hook-and-lateral play went for just six yards as Coldwater hung tough.
"We got the break with the holding call," said Dickman. "We knew we had to step it up. We don't give up many touchdowns. That was our goal to stop them."
From there, Coldwater burned clock time with the run before Kyle Bergman's 50-yard punt pinned Covington deep in its territory for the final moments of the game.
Siefring had seven catches for 150 yards and the two scores for the Cavaliers.
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