“Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.” – Gen. Robert R. Neyland, game maxim No. 6
For all of the big plays that happened in Covington’s 42-38 win over Fairley on Friday at J.P. Freeman Stadium in Memphis, none may have been more important than Fairley’s five failed two-point conversion attempts.
Fairley (4-2) matched CHS touchdown for touchdown, six apiece. For Covington (4-2), Ty Waddell was perfect making 6 of 6 PATs. Fairley had no kicking game and was able to convert just once. Kudos to the Charger D-line.
From the outset, the game was explosive. Skylan Smith lit the fire with a 95-yard TD run back of the opening kickoff. Fairley responded in 1:30 with a TD and, after a stop, another to take a 12-7 lead after one period.
From that point, there were 10 lead changes in the game. Neither team ever had more than a touchdown lead.
“I didn’t know until I got into running stats how crazy the scoring was,” said Covington head coach J. R. Kirby.
The Fairley offense was fast and physical. Covington’s secondary was challenged all night. The Bulldogs put up 292 yards in the air, completing 21 of 37 attempts with 2 TDs. Their ground game netted 96 yards and four TDs, all but one set up by long pass completions.
On both sides of the ball, Covington bent but did not break.
“I’m proud of the effort all over the field,” Kirby said. “The special teams gave us good field position all night. The O line gutted one out. Our goal line defense was a difference maker. We showed a lot of character in coming back and finishing the job with some really big plays.”
Those plays were two of Braden Gover’s three pass completions.
The first was a 25-yard TD pass to Ryan Mize that gave CHS a 28-26 lead as the third period ended. The second was a game saver. Fairley scored, then Covington, then Fairley again staking them to 38-35 lead with 6:28 left in the game.
Starting from their own 49, the Chargers had a pair of false start penalties, gained the ground back and found themselves facing a 4th and 10. Kirby called time and set up the play. Gover rolled right and found Smith for a 20-yard gain with 4:07 remaining.
A steady dose of Smith (26 carries, 164 yards, 2TDs) and Azarion Harris (19 carries, 93 yards,2TDs) put the Chargers at the one, from where Smith scored the winning TD with 19 seconds remaining.
“We played hard,” said Kirby. “Great effort. We have a number of things to clean up. It starts with getting ready for McNairy County coming in here on homecoming. It’s a region game and we need to keep the momentum. They are big, physical and have a really good running QB.”
Homecoming activities will commence at 6:30 p.m. with kickoff set for 7.