Until Tipton County’s student-athletes get back to action we will be taking a look back at some past seasons from various sports. We’ll start with the top five games from the 2019 football season and move on to other sports and seasons in the following weeks.
- Monster game from Jesse Savage nets overtime win for Munford
Heading into a Week 8 home game against Kirby, Munford was coming off a season-changing overtime win at region foe Ridgeway.
The Cougars were off the week between the Kirby and Ridgeway games, thus had plenty of time to game plan for what would be the most important game of the year at that point.
Apparently, junior Jesse Savage and fake punts were a big part of those plans.
Savage threw for a first down on one fake punt and a touchdown on another. He was 6 for 6 on extra points and field goals. His third field goal came in double overtime and gave Munford a crucial 30-27 region win.
“I just had to calm myself down and do what as best for the team,” Savage said moments after kicking the 21-yard game winner. “I had to think about the team and do what I was supposed to do.”
Derek Ross recovered a fumble on Kirby’s second overtime possession to set up Savage’s winning kick. Quarterback Jaxon O’Neal scored on a three-yard run on Munford’s first OT possession.
Carson Roberson and Kelton Mason also had key fumble recoveries during the game and Auvic White was on the receiving end of both of Savage’s passes, including a 69-yarder for a touchdown.
The victory put Munford in a first-place tie with Southwind in the region standings.
2. Stout defense leads to huge postseason road win for Chargers
For the first time in several seasons, Covington had to hit the road in the playoffs.
In fact, the Chargers entered the final week of the regular season needing a win just to secure a playoff spot.
So, after a win at Melrose in round one of the playoffs, the Chargers traveled to Medina to play South Gibson, a team that beat Covington on the Chargers’ home field in Week 9.
After South Gibson took advantage of two mishandled kickoffs by Covington, the Chargers trailed 10-0 in the game’s opening minutes. The home crowd was fired up and believed Covington’s recent history of deep playoff runs was about to end.
They were wrong and the way things worked out could not have been much more dramatic.
Leading 14-10 late in the game, the Chargers were trying to run out the clock, but were forced to punt near midfield with two minutes left. The snap sailed over the head of punter Carson Ruffin and South Gibson took over possession at the Covington 19.
There ended up being no need to worry. Jalen Fayne and Josh McGarity broke up a desperation fourth-down pass in the end zone and the Chargers moved on to the quarterfinals.
“Oh, the defense wasn’t worried at all,” said senior linebacker Caleb Winfrey. “We have this thing at practice called best on best where we put the ball at the 10-yard line. We do that every day. That’s why we were pumped up. We knew we were going to stop them.”
3. Cougars edge Brighton in county showdown
At the conclusion of Munford’s 17-14 win at Brighton, Cougar head coach Nick Markle said, “This game, for years, has basically been who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.”
It was only Week 3, but Markle’s statement ended up being prophetic as Munford went to earn a playoff berth and the Cardinals did not.
Munford appeared to be in control when Auvic White scored on a 30-yard run to put the Cougars ahead 17-7 with 11:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Brighton’s offense, which had been largely dormant after freshman Braxton Sharp broke a 75-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game, made things interesting down the stretch, though.
Nick Johnson hit Tyler Burnett on a couple of long passes and then found Michael Armour in the end zone to cut the lead to three with 4:51 left.
The Cougars were working on running out the rest of the clock before Burnett intercepted a Munford pass with 1:23 left. Munford’s defense, however, held strong to give the Cougars their first region win of the season.
Said Markle: “Defense saved us. All the credit in the world to Coach (Slade) Calhoun. He put in a lot of work in and prepped us. Without our defense we would have had a rough night.”
4. Late-game magic lifts TRA to key league win
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels ended up making the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, but they probably would have been sitting out the postseason without a wild Week 3 win against Jackson Christian School.
A last-second blocked field goal by a player who had been sick all week and a miraculous 73-yard touchdown pass from a sophomore playing just his second varsity game at quarterback were the difference.
Those two plays helped Tipton-Rosemark pull out 34-31 home win.
After Payne Fullen hit Tyler Byrd on a 20-yard touchdown pass to trim JCS’s lead to 31-27 with 6:50 left in the game, Rosemark got a quick defensive stop and was in position, with four minutes left, to win the game.
JCS forced a three-and-out, though, and TRA punted, hoping to get the ball back one more time. They almost didn’t as JCS drove down the field, but Rosemark finally stopped them and regained possession at its own 27 with just 24 seconds left.
There was time for three plays, maybe four. Rosemark needed just one.
Fullen saw Ethan Petrowski streaking down the sideline, hit him in stride and the receiver took it 73 yards to the end zone for what proved to be the game winner.
TRA’s players and fans went nuts, but JCS, with just 17 seconds left, made things interesting. Two passing plays gave JCS possession at the TRA 25 with just four seconds left. JCS kicker Will Bartel, who had already made four extra points and a 28-yard field goal, lined up for a potentially game-tying 42-yard field goal.
Jordan Artzer, the Rebels’ two-time all-state linebacker, missed the entire week of practice with a stomach virus. He looked completely healthy on the final play of the game, however, as he broke through the middle of the line and blocked the kick as time expired.
“All I know is I threw my headset about as high as the lights and took off running. It was pretty awesome,” Pinner said. “Just to have the kids keep clawing back was great. It seemed like every break went against us and they just kept fighting and fighting. I never saw them drop their heads. That’s a testament to how tough those kids are.”
5. Chargers nearly make third straight trip to Cookeville
There were certainly a lot of long faces and tears shed in Nashville after Covington fell to Pearl-Cohn in the state semifinals.
Most of Covington’s defense, which had just played yet another stellar game, gathered together on the sideline and simultaneously slumped their heads as quarterback Carson Ruffin was sacked on the final play of a heart-wrenching 21-20 loss.
A missed extra point right before halftime, a Pearl-Cohn kick off return for a touchdown moments before that and a crushing lost fumble midway through the fourth quarter deep in Firebirds’ territory were the difference.
Covington outgained Pearl-Cohn 334 to 175 and had 23 first downs compared to just 10 for the Firebirds, but none of that mattered as the home team celebrated a trip to the state title game and Covington’s fans and players had to come to grips with the fact the Chargers would not be going to Cookeville for a third straight season.
Junior running back Marcus Hayes, who battled injuries all year and did not play in Covington’s first three playoff games, came back strong Friday night. He scored Covington’s second touchdown to make the score 14-14 with 1:31 left in the first half.
Then, after Pearl-Cohn returned the ensuing kick off for a score, Covington improbably drove 67 yards in a little more than a minute to pull within a point. J.R. Kirby rolled the dice and went for a TD instead of a field goal. Hayes scored from seven yards out and anything seemed possible.
“Losing those two games and coming back from a lot. We were down,” senior safety Josh McGarity said when asked what we could remember about this season. “We didn’t even think we would get this far. Some people didn’t even think we were going to make the playoffs. We were fortunate to be here and I’m proud to be a Charger.”
“We were so close to going back to play for a state championship,” Kirby said. “It’s all over, but I don’t know if a lot of people thought we would be here again with what we lost (to graduation). I’m very proud to be their coach.”