COVINGTON — Thee Covington Athletic Hall of Fame recently inducted three individuals and the 1947 football team.
2021 INDUCTEE: DALE “BLACKIE” BRANT
Dale “Blackie” Brant is a 1944 Covington graduate who excelled in basketball and baseball for the Buccaneers during one of the most historic times in the history of our country – World War II.
He played three years of baseball for the Buccaneers and was a member of the basketball team during all four years of high school where he earned varsity letters during his junior and senior seasons. He was on two of the most legendary teams in the history of the program – as a freshman on the 1940-41 team that finished 20-2 under coach Burr Simpson and then as a senior on the 1943-44 team that finished 18-1 and earned a Stillwater Valley League Championship under coach Everett Snyder. The .947 winning percentage in the 1943-44 season was the highest winning percentage for any Covington basketball team in school history until the Buccaneers finished 24-1 in 1980-81 for a .960 winning percentage. Throughout Blackie’s high school career from 1940 to 1944 the Buccaneers won 77.6 percent of their games to compile an overall record of 59-17.
Individually, Blackie was a Co-Captain his senior year where he led the team in scoring with 232 points and was a First-Team Stillwater Valley League Selection.
After his graduation in 1944, Blackie served in Okinawa, Japan as a member of the United States Navy during World War II. He married June Holsinger and had eleven children.
2021 INDUCTEE: FRED DAVIS
Fred Davis is a 1960 Covington graduate who excelled in baseball, basketball, football and track where he earned a combined 10 varsity letters.
In baseball, Fred lettered all four years of high school – three under coach Bob Wion and then in his senior season under coach Frank Dunn where he was a team captain. He led the team in on-base percentage, most stolen bases and most runs scored.
On the basketball court, Fred played varsity all four seasons and lettered as a sophomore, junior and senior. At the time varsity letters were not awarded to freshmen. He was a senior captain in the 1959-60 season under coach Frank Dunn where he helped lead the Buccaneers to a Non-County Tournament Championship with wins over Sidney Holy Angles and Bradford.
Fred also was a standout in football where he earned varsity letters in 1958 and 1959 under coach Blair Irvin. As a senior in 1959, Fred was a key contributor on a team that finished 8-1 and were the top ranked team in the state until the final game of the season against West Milton – a game where Covington had three touchdowns negated in a 14-6 defeat. Still, the 1959 team established new school records with 386 points scored and just 42 points surrendered on the entire season.
Fred took to the track for the first time in his senior season and qualified for the state meet in the high jump on his way to earning a varsity letter. He placed first in the High Jump at the Covington Invitational and medaled at the the Miami University Track & Field Meet.
Fred continues to reside in Covington with his wife of 60 years, Linda Yeamans Davis. They have three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
2021 HONORARY INDUCTEE: DONNA KAY DEWEY
Donna Kay has been a staple in the Covington school system and in the Covington community for over 60 years. She was a Physical Education teacher at Covington from 1960 until her retirement in 2009, served on the Village Council for 26 years spanning from 1982 to 2009, and served as Mayor for six months after the unfortunate passing of Gary Bell.
In regards to her contribution to Covington Athletics, Donna Kay was a pioneer for women’s sports as she served as intramural coach in volleyball, basketball and track from 1960 until the OHSAA began recognizing girls athletics as part of Title IX in 1972. Covington’s first year of participating as official members of the OHSAA began in the 1974-75 school year, but in years prior the athletic teams competed as part of the Girls Athletic Association.
As the athletic programs took off for female sports, Donna Kay took her passion of teaching athletics to the junior high level where she coached volleyball and track for several years from 1982 through 1993.
Donna Kay graduated high school in 1955 at Marshall High School, which is now a part of the Hillsboro school district. She earned her Bachelors Degree in 1959 at Wilmington College and her Masters Degree in 1982 at the University of Dayton.
Donna Kay and her late husband Lewis Dewey arrived in Covington in the late 1950s and raised two children in the heart of Buccaneer Country – Lisa Dewey McCord (a 1977 Covington Graduate) and Mary Elizabeth Nasal (a 1984 Covington Graduate). She also has many grandchildren who have been blessed to wear the black and white as Covington Buccaneers.
2021 INDUCTEE: 1947 FOOTBALL TEAM
Covington has a rich tradition of success in football and it all started in the modern era with the 1947 football team coached by Burr Simpson. Football had originally started in 1904, but was disbanded when a Covington player was seriously injured during a game against Troy on October 28, 1910. The sport was brought back to life in 1946 due to a group of supporters; Keith Langston, Merrit Burk, Russel Johnson, Howard Buchanan, Kermit Stade, Burr Simpson, Dr. Wehr and Professor J.L. Baker. After a season of practice games and attending games at neighboring schools, the Covington football program played its first game in nearly 37 years on Friday, September 12, 1947, a 12-0 defeat at Maria Stein St. Johns.
Two weeks later on September 26, 1947 the Buccaneers played their first ever game on the friendly confines of Smith Field against Piqua Central Catholic. Midway through the first quarter, David Beard went 30 yards around right end for the first touchdown. Dick Supinger booted the extra point as Covington put their first seven points on the scoreboard. Late in the third period, Beard and Supinger duplicated the feat in the same manner and the Buccaneers had their first triumph, a 14-0 victory.
It was the start of a long-standing tradition for the Covington community – a tradition that has led to 523 wins, 222 losses and 13 ties in 74 years of football.
The starting line-up for the 1947 Buccaneers was: Jack Farling, left end; Keith Langston, left tackle; Bill Trembly, left guard; Tom Finfrock, center; George Brandt, right guard; Frank Hemm, right tackle; Charles Phillis, right end; Dean Finfrock, left halfback; Junior Deal, quarterback; Don Via, fullback; and David Beard, right halfback.
1947 Football Team
Dick O’Roark*, Tom Hill*, Dale Garman, Bill Langston*, Eddie Nolan*, Dick Hemm*, Don Whitman*, Junior Deal*, Dave Beard*, Leroy Anderson, Don Via*, George Brant*, Charlie Phillis*, Bill Collins*, Dean Finfrock*, Tom Finfrock*, John Fletcher*, Bill Wills*, Dave Mote*, Joel Phillips, Frank Hemm*, Jack Farling*, Joe Bosserman*, Henry Anderson*, Bill Trembly, Keith Langston*, Dick Supinger*, Jim Ellis*. Managers Charlie Wright* and Carl Reck. Head Coach Burr Simpson* and Assistant Coaches Louis Apwisch* and Charles Watson*.