DAYTON — Not all 12-0 teams are alike.
The 13-0 Coldwater Cavaliers jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead and made it stick as they knocked off the Covington Buccaneers (12-1) in the Division IV, Region 20 championship on the Kettering Health Network Field at Welcome Stadium.
The Buccaneers entered the game averaging 54.7 points, 472 yards of offense — 449 on the ground. The stingy Cavalier defense held the Buccs to 79 first half yards and 189 yards in the game. The Buccaneers did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter and a Coldwater turnover near midfield.
Coldwater will play Liberty-Benton on Saturday in the state semifinals at a site to be determined.
“No questions about it (the play of the defense),” Coldwater coach Chip Otten said. “We were physically stout up front. We played all the phases. Our scout team did a good job this week (simulating Covington’s offense).”
The Cavaliers offense was led by Austin Bruns who completed 18 of 27 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite receiver on the night was Caleb Siefring who made seven catches for 141 yards and two scores.
“I definitely missed a lot of throws,” Bruns said of his performance. “I wish I could get some throws back and some reads back. We were able to come out early and score on our first few drives.”
It is Coldwater’s 11th trip to the state final four, eighth since 2000.
The Cross County Conference champion Covington Buccaneers are now 0-8 all-time against Midwest Athletic Conference schools in playoff football. Last season Coldwater ended the Buccaneers season with a 31-7 loss in the first round of the playoffs.
The Buccaneers gambled on their first possession and on fourth-and-1 from their own 35-yard line they fumbled the ball. Coldwater recovered and put points on the board. Five plays later, from the six yard line, Siefring went in motion and quarterback Bruns found the senior in the flat for a 6-yard touchdown pass. Kyle Bergman’s point after touchdown gave Coldwater a 7-0 with 7:38 left in the opening quarter.
After going three and out on its second possession, Coldwater got the ball back. After going backward on first and second down, the Cavaliers were faced with a third and 17, Bruns scrambled and found sophomore Brody Hoying for a 25-yard gain. On the next play, Bruns hooked up with Siefring for 50 yards to put Coldwater up 14-0 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
The Buccaneers turned the ball over for the second time when Josh Huber intercepted Trent Tobias at the Coldwater 25-yard line. A 38-yard strike to Siefring and a pass interference penalty on fourth and 18 from the Covington 25 kept the drive alive. A pass from Bruns to Siefring got the ball to the one where Jordan Chappin took it into the end zone with 5:37 left in the half and Coldwater leading 20-0.
“They don’t like to throw; they are not use to it,” Otten said. “It’s a good matchup for us. We’re a little bigger, stronger and faster than they were.”
Covington threatened late in the fourth quarter but the Cavalier defense stiffened again on fourth and goal from the 14 and stymied a hook and lateral to seal the game and put the Cavaliers into Week 14.