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The Covington Catholic Colonels had another fine season in 2012 as they were able to overcome a recent playoff foe, and made great strides towards equaling another.
The Colonels were led by one of the area’s best defenses that held five different teams scoreless on the year. In a show of their amazing depth three different times this year they had at least 25 different players record a tackle.
Covington Catholic had balance in 2012 too, as they were led on offense by a record-setting signal caller. The combination of great play on both sides of the ball led to many one sided victories for the Colonels.
Here’s a game-by-game recap of Covington Catholic’s 2012 season:
GAME #1 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 37, CAMPBELL COUNTY 0: The Covington Catholic Colonels opened the season with a dominating win over the Campbell County Camels (who would go on to win the NKY 6A regular season district crown) for the second straight year, winning the Crosstown Showdown matchup 37-0. Sam Dressman scored 25 points in the Colonels’ season-opening shutout of Campbell County, including Covington Catholic’s first ten points. The junior finished with four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown and another 41 yards and a score on 10 rushing attempts. Dressman first scored on a 25-yard field goal midway through the first quarter. Later that quarter he ran in a touchdown from four yards out and converted the ensuing point after. Dressman would add three more extra points along with another touchdown run and the game’s final score, a 15-yard touchdown catch. Covington Catholic had a 534-96 advantage in total yards in rolling to the victory, and the Colonel defense recorded its first of five regular season shut outs in the opener.
GAME #2 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 54, DIXIE HEIGHTS 0: The game was moved to 10AM due to heat warnings, but there was no cooling off a Covington Catholic offense that scored five times in the first half en route to a 54-0 home win over the Dixie Heights Colonels. Senior quarterback Blake Bir finished with six touchdown passes on the day despite leaving early in the third quarter. His six TD passes in one game breaks the school's single-game record and also pushed the senior to 59 career touchdown passes. With the damage already being done, Covington Catholic head coach Dave Wirth began to pull his starters shortly after the intermission and most of the second half would unfold with a running clock. As good as the offense was for the Colonels, their defense stole the show. The unit posted its second straight shutout and through two games Covington Catholic had outscored their opponents by a 91-0 margin. In this game the defense limited Dixie to just 28 yards of total offense, including just nine in the second half. Linebacker Sam Burchell led the team with nine tackles and was in on one of their seven sacks on the day.
GAME #3 - LA SALLE 27, COVINGTON CATHOLIC 11: The Colonels dropped their first game of the season with poor ball control, and a special teams’ mishap. The Lancers only offensive touchdown came on their first drive of the game. It took three plays to set up a 21-yard rushing TD, which gave La Salle an early 7-0 lead. La Salle’s other three scores came from a 66-yard interception return, a 65-yard punt return, and a 10-yard fumble return. Covington Catholic out gained the Lancers 385 yards to 215 and ran 35 more plays, but the Colonels turned the ball over four times in this one. Covington Catholic broke the shutout when Dressman nailed a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter to make it 14-3. The Colonels forced a safety, and later scored on a 2-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Luke Bir in the third quarter. Luke Bir led the Colonels with 90 yards on the ground, while Ethan Egbers had six catches for 102 yards. Matthew Way had eight tackles, six of them solo, to lead a solid defensive effort from the Colonels, who only allowed seven points in the contest.
GAME #4 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 34, BOONE COUNTY 0: The Colonels’ defense continued to dominate their opponents as they held Boone County to 177 total yards and just three yards per carry on 43 rushes. Dan Hellman and Austin Oberhausen paced the Colonels’ defense with ten tackles each. Way had another solid game with eight solo tackles. Offensively, the Colonels were led by Blake Bir, who completed 15 passes for 275 yards, one third of the completions resulted in touchdowns. He spread the ball out well, finding seven different receivers with Egbers hauling the most at five catches for 88 yards. Senior running back Bobby Beatrice led the ground attack with 94 yards on just nine carries. In the end this game was all about the Covington Catholic defense which through their first 16 quarters of play in the 2012 season had still only given up seven points.
GAME #5 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 41, BEECHWOOD 6: Beechwood had the ball for 36 minutes in this game while Covington Catholic had the ball for just 12 minutes, yet the Colonels’ defense still only allowed one score and 179 yards from the Tigers. Covington Catholic forced three Beechwood turnovers on the evening, Oberhausen, and Hellman each recovered a fumble while Way picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. The Colonel defense did allow its first points to a Bluegrass foe in this one, but still imposed its will throughout the contest. Burchell had 16 tackles to lead his club, but had lots of help from fellow linebacker DJ Powell, who totaled eight tackles, seven of those on his own. Evan Braun shined on offense scoring on 66 and 36-yard catches as he finished the game with 116 yards. Egbers also had two scores in the game.
GAME #6 - HIGHLANDS 35, COVINGTON CATHOLIC 21: Covington Catholic came into this game trying to be the first team to knock off the Bluebirds in over two seasons, and while they closed the gap from the 2011 playoff game the Colonels still fell short. Covington Catholic got the scoring underway late in the first quarter as Egbers hauled in a two-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bir on fourth down. That score was set up when defensive back Adam Fischer picked off a Donovan McCoy pass and returned it 20 yards to the 24-yard line. After two Highlands’ scores the Colonels pulled even going 60 yards on just five plays that culminated with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Bir to Matt Summe and the game was tied at 14. Summe made an excellent TD catch in the third quarter as well to get his team back within seven points, but the Colonels wouldn’t score again. The mighty Colonel defense was unable to hold Highlands in check on the ground and that was the difference in this game.
GAME #7 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 70, PENDLETON COUNTY 0: Coming off a tough district loss the Colonels were out to prove a point against the Wildcats, and boy did they. Not only did the defense pitch another shut out, but they only allowed 63 total yards in this game. Offensively the Colonels turned to the ground game, leaning on the guys up front to carry the load in this one. Seniors Danny Sandfoss, Conner Nowak, and Nik Knipper along with juniors Nick Kathman, Christian Stewart, and Pat Connaughton as well as sophomore Jacob Roth helped create space for fourteen different ball carriers who totaled 307 yards rushing. The line was so impressive that the Colonels only passed the ball six times in the game, with five passes being caught, and four of them going for touchdowns. In total 26 different players recorded a tackle or an assist in this game. Nick Davis had four tackles to go along with his fumble recovery to set the tone for the defense.
GAME #8 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 61, HARRISON COUNTY 0: Once again there were 26 different Colonels that recorded at least one tackle to go along with another interception by Fischer, and fumble recoveries by Burchell and Hellman. The defense was overwhelmingly stingy giving up only 73 total yards to the Thorobreds. The offensive line was dominate again as well, with the Colonels gaining 500 total yards as 17 different players helped move the ball with Braun and Dressman providing two touchdowns each. Bir continued on his school record pace also, throwing four touchdowns for the second straight game.
GAME #9 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 49, HOLMES 28: The Colonels entered this game with second place in the district, and a home playoff game on the line, and they would wrap up both rather handily. The Colonels were up 35-0 at half before coasting to the victory. It was another record-setting night for quarterback Blake Bir, who set the school’s single-season passing touchdown mark by throwing for three scores. He broke his previous mark of 29 by raising his 2012 total to 32 passing touchdowns. On the night, Bir went 252 yards on 15-of-25 passing. Egbers was his main target with six catches for 108 yards and a score. On defense it was Spencer Hemmer who stole the show. Normally Hemmer was consuming blockers so the linebackers could make the plays, but in this game he dominated the line of scrimmage with 18 tackle, including 11 solo. The Colonels also had three more take aways on the night, another pick by Way, along with a fumble recovery by Trevor Wendt, and a fumble recovery for a score by Hellman.
GAME #10 - CONNER 13, COVINGTON CATHOLIC 12: It was a regular season finale that meant a whole lot to the Cougars and very little to the Colonels, and it showed. Conner held only one opponent to fewer points than the twelve it surrendered to Covington Catholic, although muddy field conditions helped keep the score low in this one. Keeping the Cougar offense in check was a difficult task for every team they faced in 2012, and the Colonels did that better than anyone else yielding only 13 points and less than 300 total yards. Powell led the team with 11 tackles, but Sam Williamson had the most solo tackles with nine. Late in the game Luke Bir scored from four yards out to draw within one, but the Colonels elected to go for the two-point conversion after failing to hit the extra point on the previous score due to the wet conditions. The Cougars’ defense stopped the two-point conversion attempt at the goal line to clinch the game.
GAME #11 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 67, ROWAN COUNTY 3: The Colonels opened the playoffs in dominating fashion on both sides of the ball. An astounding 27 players recorded tackles in a game where the defense gave up less than 200 yards and only three points. Way added another interception to his fine season, while Decker Shwartz took his turn recovering a fumble. Burchell once again led the team in tackles, this time with nine. Blake Bir had another strong outing behind center throwing for 261 yards and three scores, but no player was more impressive than Egbers, who had four total touchdowns, 144 yards receiving, and another 43 rushing. Eight different Colonels were involved in scoring plays in this rout.
GAME #12 - COVINGTON CATHOLIC 45, JOHNSON CENTRAL 15: CovCath was able to get past a team that had haunted them in the playoffs in recent years, and they did so convincingly. Bir controlled the majority of Covington Catholic’s offense, scoring two touchdowns on the ground and throwing for two more. Bir completed 15 of 23 passes for 287 yards and also rushed for 76 yards. Egbers was also busy, catching five of Bir’s passes for 101 yards, which included a 52-yard bomb into the end zone. Hellman led the club in tackles with 12, but Oberhausen’s nine to go along with eight tackles from Burchell, Powell, and Hemmer showed what a team effort the Colonels put forward against the Golden Eagles as they again gave up under 200 total yards. Hemmer not only had eight tackles, but also added a touchdown off of a fumble recovery to continue his great year.
GAME #13 - HIGHLANDS 28, COVINGTON CATHOLIC 13: The Colonels came in to this rematch looking for revenge, but turnovers proved to be costly as they gave the ball away four times, without taking it away at all. Blake Bir’s amazing career came to an end, but not before he added one more touchdown to his record. Beatrice also went out with one more score under his belt. The Colonel defense played well, but was never able to match the big plays from the Highlands’ defense. Powell, Oberhausen, and Burchell were once again the top tacklers for Covington Catholic. While it is likely no consolidation to the Colonels, they were closer to the Bluebirds in this contest than any other statewide foe in the 2012 season. Highlands would go to secure the Class 4A state championship, securing their state record sixth straight title.
MILESTONES AND MORE
--The Colonel offense gained 5,115 yards this season while the defense yielded 2,465. That’s more than a two to one advantage over the course of the season.
-- CovCath has won 19 games over the past two seasons with four of their seven losses coming at the hands of Highlands during that span.
--Blake Bir, a three-year starter at quarterback, now holds several records at Covington Catholic for both his career and a single season, none more impressive than his single-season mark with 38 touchdown passes in 2012
--Wide receiver Ethan Egbers had 13 touchdown catches in 2012, one per game
--Sam Burchell led the vaunted Colonel defense with 97 total tackles in 2012 as a junior. That same defense pitched five shut outs on the year with two other games giving up less than seven points.
--Head coach Dave Wirth upped his record as the boss at Covington Catholic to 31-19 (58-44, nine years, overall) after his team’s 9-4 record this year.
CovCath has been nominated for our TristateFootball.com NKY Team of the Year. The winning team will be recognized at our NKY/Indiana Year in Review Show coming up on Monday, January 21st, 2013 at the Quaker Steak & Lube in Florence. CLICK HERE for more details
For CovCath coverage all year long follow their TSF TEAM PAGE.
James Adams was a member of the 1993-94 Kentucky Class 3A state championship team at CovCath. He has been covering local prep sports on radio and TV for the past decade and is currently the play-by-play voice for Thomas More College. He is entering his second season as a featured analyst with TriStateFootball.com If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.