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Munford takes out Haywod in jamboree action

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Munford's Chris Williams chases down Haywoood quarterback Wil Austin during jamboree action Friday night in Munford. The Cougars won, 13-6. Photo by Jeff Ireland

For what it's worth, in the glorified scrimmages, also known as the jamboree, held Friday night at Munford High School, the favorites to win were probably Covington, Brighton and Haywood.

All three lost.

First Assembly Christian School took advantage of some Covington mistakes to win the opening contest 6-0.

St. Benedict scored on its first three drives to take out Brighton 16-13, and Munford used some big plays to knock off Haywood 13-6 in the final game of the night.

Jamborees, of course, mean very little when they're played and nothing once the season starts, but there's little doubt a lot of people were paying attention to how Munford would look under first-year head coach J.R. Kirby.

He took over a program in January coming off a disastrous 2013 season.

"Our kids have worked hard," a smiling Kirby said moments after his team held on to beat a Haywood team expected to do big things this season.

"We've talked about getting ready for Covington (tomorrow night's opponent in the season opener), but we had our eyes on this game tonight."

Haywood nearly spoiled Munford's night.

With Haywood trailing 13-6, Haywood quarterback Wil Austin lofted a pass to wideout Denarius Toliver in the end zone as time expired. Toliver couldn't hold on, and Munford headed into its season opener on a high note.

Things didn't go well for the Cougars early.

Austin scored from two yards out midway through the first of two periods for a 6-0 lead and the Cougars fumbled on their next possession.

But with 17:31 left in the second period, Munford's Trae Doty picked off a pass at the Haywood 27 and returned it to the one. David Simon took it in from there to give the Cougars a 7-6 lead.

On Munford's next possession, Edward Estes recovered a Haywood fumble at the Haywood 28.

Four plays later, on fourth and two from the 20, first-year junior quarterback Jacob Ross faked a hand-off up the middle and ran around the left end for a touchdown.

"I was really impressed with the way he played," Kirby said about his quarterback. "He kind of shook off the butterflies and played."

Munford's defense stopped Haywood on a fourth and one at the Munford 21 with 8:48 left.

"We showed the hard work these kids have put in since January has paid off," Kirby said. "They're starting to see the light and why we do what we do. Big night for the Cougars."

Covington's defense held FACS in check most of the night after an early score and the offense moved the ball, but some mistakes, especially two untimely fumbles, proved to be too much to overcome.

"The bottom line, offensively, is we're making too many mistakes right now," Covington head coach Marty Wheeler said. "In practice it's hard to see every hole. At practice you can bring it to their attention, but it stings a little bit more when you're out here."

With Munford coming up Friday night in the season opener, Covington appeared to be content not to show too much of their offense.

Wheeler said his perspective on jamborees has changed over the years.

"People, a lot of times, read too much into a jamboree," Wheeler said. "And I did too. The longer I'm in this, I see the jamboree exactly as it is. It's a chance to find out what you need to work on and we found out several things we need to work on."

Brighton's offense struggled early as St. Benedict built a 16-0 lead with 11:50 left in the second period. But the second half belonged to the Cardinal offense.

Junior Zach Camp capped off a nice Brighton drive with a 28-yard TD run to cut the lead to 16-6 at the 7:49 mark.

With 15 seconds left, first-year quarterback Austin Kelley hit Deavius Terry on a 31-yard touchdown pass.

First-year Brighton coach Robin Jacobs said he was happy with the way his team recovered after a sluggish start.

"We kept playing hard," Jacobs said. "That's the biggest thing. We're happy with what we did. We're still a work in progress, but don't give up on us just yet. We're a long way from the finish line."

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