As the third quarter came to a close in last night’s season opener between Covington and Munford, some serious fog began to roll into Covington’s stadium.
When the game ended, the fog, combined with smoke from some fireworks, visibility was so bad it became unclear who was standing 10 feet away from you.
One thing, however, was crystal clear: Covington is a much better team than Munford right now.
Covington scored on its first five possessions while Munford struggled to execute a new offense. The result was a 41-6 Charger win, marking the third straight year Covington has blown out Munford in the season opener.
“I thought they played hard and worked hard,” first-year Munford head coach Slade Calhoun said after the game as fireworks exploded over his head. “I mean, clearly, I didn’t have them ready to play. I can’t really blame anybody but myself. I could blame it on not having any scrimmages or a jamboree, but they haven’t either. They are returning 10 or 11 starters on offense and I think we returned a starter or two. We weren’t really prepared and we didn’t look really sharp. We looked like a young team with first-game jitters, but no excuses. They outcoached us and just beat us. Hats off to Covington, they’re really good.”
Munford had deployed a run-first option offense the last four seasons. The Cougars lined up in a spread with four wideouts last night. The new offense was more successful against Covington than the old one had been the last two seasons, but it was not nearly enough.
The Cougars had a couple of first downs in the first half, but did not sniff the end zone until Auvic White scored against Covington’s second-stringers with 2:02 left in the game.
“That’s the first time they’ve run that live against anybody, but that’s not the first time we’ve defended the spread live,” Covington head coach J.R. Kirby said. “They’ll get better at it. We had an idea of what they were going to do and it was pretty much spot on.”
A seven-yard touchdown run by Jamarion Dowell, a 34-yard pass from Carson Ruffin to Dalton Dickerson and a 29-yard scoring run by Ruffin gave the Chargers a 20-0 lead after one quarter.
Ruffin hit Breshun Dyson on a 10-yard scoring strike and a one-yard sneak by Ruffin with 3:22 left in the first half pushed the lead to 35-0.
Moments later, A.C. Ruffin intercepted a Jaxon O’Neal pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown and Covington took a 41-0 lead into halftime.
Multiple Covington players enjoyed big games.
Marcus Hayes broke off a couple of big runs to finish 111 yards on eight carries. Dowell had 72 yards on six carries and Eumorrion Flowers added 40 rushing yards.
Ruffin completed 2 of 3 passes for 41 yards and rushed for 43 more.
“We were hungry,” Ruffin said. “Hitting each other for two and a half months and finally getting in pads and hitting somebody else, it felt good. We’ve been waiting on that for a while.”
“Think about this,” Kirby said. “We put up 41 points tonight and Marcus Hayes didn’t score a touchdown. You just can’t key on him anymore. The offensive and defensive coordinators called a great game.”
Munford finished with 87 yards and six first downs, much better than last year’s game when the Cougars managed just one first down, which came on a penalty.
Nevertheless, just like the last two times these teams played, the eventual outcome was obvious very early in the game.
“I thought we came out great,” Kirby said. “Our kids were focused and ready to go. We worked them hard all summer. I couldn’t be more proud of our team overall. As far as executing the offense and defense, we were absolutely perfect the first half.”