If you didn’t watch Thursday’s season opener between Covington and Munford and merely saw that the Chargers won 41-8, you might think it was just like the previous three matchups, all of which were thoroughly dominated by Covington.
This game, played in front of a standing-room only crowd in Munford, didn’t play out like that.
Munford led late in the first quarter and had a chance to make things interesting early in the fourth quarter when it drove inside the Covington 10.
But, in the end, Covington, despite losing two fumbles in the first half, had way too much firepower.
The Chargers racked up 468 rushing yards (9.4 yards per carry), eventually wore down Munford’s defense and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach.
Covington got the ball first and to the surprise of some senior Tanner Stewart was the quarterback as the Chargers lined up in their trademark Wing-T offense. Jalen Fayne, who was listed as the starting quarterback and played that position in scrimmages and the jamboree in a spread offense, lined up at running back.
Munford head coach Slade Calhoun said he was not shocked by it.
“I can show you my game plan,” Calhoun said. “I knew they had that. We didn’t work against it (in practice) exclusively, but we worked it. They just beat us up front. Their O-line whooped our D-line and their backs are just fantastic.”
“We had been in that (Wing-T) offense all spring, all offseason and thought that fit our personnel,” Covington head coach J.R. Kirby said. “We were fortunate Tanner got cleared (from injury) and we went right back to it. We’ve been hiding it for that reason. That’s who we are at Covington. We run the Wing-T and we get downhill on people and you saw that tonight.”
“It really doesn’t matter to me because I’m willing to do anything to help my team win,” Fayne said.
Fayne broke a 35-yard touchdown run on Covington’s first possession and finished with 120 yards on 10 carries. Jamarion Dowell (202 yards on 23 rushes) had a 59-yard TD run with 51 seconds left in the second quarter that put Covington ahead 21-8.
“That changed the whole complexion of the game,” Calhoun said.
On Covington’s first possession of the second half, the Chargers faced a fourth and six at the Munford 24 and decided to go for it. Stewart hit Fayne for a touchdown pass to push the lead to 28-8.
Covington’s first fumble came with 7:39 left in the first quarter and Munford quickly took advantage. Auvic White, who finished with 70 yards on 23 carries, broke of a couple of long runs and quarterback Jordan Bell punched it in from the one-yard line. White added a two-point conversion to give Munford an 8-7 lead, but the Cougars did not score again.
A.C. Mason (four rushes, 58 yards) came up with a 39-yard TD run with 1:12 left in the first quarter to put Covington ahead 14-8.
Dowell added an 11-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and Devin Tate rounded out the scoring with an eight-yard run with 3:35 left in the game. Skylan Smith added 64 rushing yards for Covington.
“It feels good,” Dowell said when asked how it felt to beat one of Covington’s biggest rivals on their home field, “especially how they booed us when we ran out.”
Kirby did not come out say the Wing-T would be used exclusively this season, but the way things went Thursday night, it seems likely.
“We knew Slade likes to bring pressure when you’re in the shotgun,” Kirby said. “It was still in the plan if we needed it, but we feel like this is us and that’s who we’re going to be.”