COVINGTON — Anna returns five offensive starters and four defensive starters from last year’s 7-4 squad. The inexperience showed in a Jamboree scrimmage against Covington on Friday night.
Covington’s offense moved the ball consistently through the varsity squad’s two-and-a-half quarter scrimmage. The Rockets struggled expect for their first and last drives of the first half and lost 19-7.
“Nothing was up to our standards tonight,” Anna coach Nick Marino said. “We’ve got to play better. We’ve got a lot of things to work on. The sense of urgency has to increase and we have to go back to practice and get better.”
The Buccaneers unofficially had 172 rushing yards on 24 carries and completed 8-of-12 passes for 79 yards. Junior quarterback Bart Bixler unofficially completed 8-of-14 passes for 82 yards and the Rockets amassed 51 rushing yards on 22 carries.
“Lack of consistency,” Marino said of Anna’s offense. “We’ve got to be more physical across the board.”
Anna’s offense struggled early, while Covington’s thrived.
The Rockets drove 49 yards on nine plays on the game’s first drive but turned the ball over on downs. The Buccaneers then drove 73 yards on 12 plays and scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cade Schmelzer to Andrew Cates with one minute left in the first. Covington missed the extra point but led 6-0.
Anna went three-and-out on its next drive and the Buccaneers then drove 60 yards on three plays. Gage Kerrigan capped off the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run with 10:55 left in the second, which pushed Covington’s lead to 13-0 after an extra point.
Anna got one first down on its next drive, but two sacks pushed the Rockets back to their 26-yard line and forced them to punt.
The Rockets got going late in the second quarter, though.
Bixler completed several long passes, including a 22-yard pass to Jeffrey Richards that set up a 3-yard touchdown run by junior running back Riley Huelskamp with two seconds left. The Rockets made an extra point to cut Covington’s lead to 13-7 at halftime.
“That was a good drive,” Marino said. “We had a couple of guys make a couple of good catches. But overall, we still have to get better as a team and be more physical.”
Anna’s varsity offense went three-and-out on its lone drive of the second half. Covington scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:24 left to push the final to 19-7 after another missed extra point.
Covington’s JV scored a touchdown on a short run with one second left in the third.
Anna will open the season next Friday at Middletown Fenwick.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.