BRADFORD – There was a time when fans stood three to four deep around the entire field when Covington and Bradford played each other on the gridiron. Yes, the rivalry was huge for both communities where bragging rights went to the winner until the two programs took to the field a year later.
Unfortunately, over the past decade or so the rivalry has diminished to some extent and the past four years it disappeared as the two neighboring programs hadn’t played each other since 2018.
Friday night, however, the rivalry was renewed as the Buccaneers traveled to Bradford in a non-conference battle that was very reminiscent of the good old days. Fans from both communities poured into the facility, which made for a great environment for the players to experience.
And the game lived up to the traditions established from the rivalry that dates back to 1947 as both teams left everything they had on the field in what was an exciting game from start to finish. In the end it was Covington who came out on top by the score of 24-6, but both teams were winners on this night.
For the Bradford Railroaders, there was a lot of uncertainty entering the 2022 season due to limited numbers and the youth on the roster. The situation was blown out of proportion due to inaccurate reports from some local media outlets, but the players and coaches never relented – instead looked for opportunities to build the program.
And Friday night was a great situation for Bradford as it was pitted against long-time rival Covington in front of a packed home town crowd.
What transpired was an effort the Bradford program can use to build for the future. The kids played their hearts out for four quarters and in the process were within striking distance of coming out on top until two turnovers resulted into defensive touchdowns for the Buccaneers.
Covington opened the scoring with a touchdown in the first quarter, but the score remained 6-0 until the first play fo the fourth quarter where the Buccs returned a fumble 85 yards for a score.
The Buccaneer scored again after an interception on a 17-yard run, but the Railroaders never relented as Den Kitts hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Colton Gambill to cut the deficit to 18-6 with 4:55 left in the game.
The Bradford defense stepped up once again by getting a stop to put the ball back into the hands of the offense. Unfortunately for Bradford, a pass was picked off by Covington and returned 35 yards for the score.
Regardless of the final outcome, the kids in Railroader uniforms were winners on what was a special night for both the Bradford and Covington communities.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington – 6 – 0 – 0 – 18 = 24
Bradford – 0 – 0 – 0 – 6 = 6
COV: DeAnthony Bennett 1-yd run (Kick Blocked)
COV: DeAnthony Bennett 85-yard fumble return (Kick Failed)
COV: DeAnthony Bennett 17-yard run (Pass Failed)
BRA: Ben Kitts 19-yard pass from Colton Gambill (Pass Failed)
COV: Garrett Leistner 35-yard interception return (Kick Failed)