Some avid followers of high school football predicted a 35-21 Charger victory in Friday’s Class 3A second round playoff game at Covington Athletic Field.
The Chargers hit the prediction on the number but, apparently, no one factored in a CHS defense that took charge and blanked the Tigers 35-0 in what was anticipated to be a battle to the final whistle.
With the win Covington advanced to the state quarterfinals where it will face Dyersburg on the road Friday.
Covington (9-2) took the opening kickoff and marched 59 yards to go up 7-0 on Tanner Stewart’s six-yard scoring run. That was all the scoring in the first alf. A lost fumble and a major penalty deep in Tiger territory thwarted Covington’s offense in the first 24 minutes.
“We had some breakdowns in the first half that slowed the offense,” said Covington coah J.R. Kirby,” but we made the corrections we needed at the half and took care of business the rest of the way.”
The Tigers took away the pass, so, “We took what they gave us,” Kirby said.
Ripley’s defense called for a fullback attack. Senior Eumorrion Flowers answered the bell with his best career performance: 182 yards on 22 carries with a 57-yard TD run for good measure. He was the leader in a ground attack that averaged 7.6 yards per play totaling 421 yards on 55 carries.
Stewart was 0-1 passing but added 25 yards on six carries. The rest of the scoring came in the second half. Jaylen Fayne ran for 156 yards and a 41-yard score on 14 carries. Jamarion Dowell scored twice on runs of two and 41 yards, collecting 68 yards on 11 touches.
Covington’s defense was lights out.
“This was our most complete defensive game this season,” said Kirby.
Ripley was shut out with a total offensive effort of 92 yards: 62 yards on 9-of-18 passing with two interceptions and 33 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
A.C. Mason and Fayne each had an interception that the offense converted into touchdowns. So complete was the CHS defense, Ripley never got past the Covington 45 yard line. The Tigers averaged 1.3 yards per play.
The matchup the Chargers and fans have waited for since a controversial loss on Oct. 1 loss at Dyersburg is coming. The Trojans are 12-0 and, like CHS, are looking for a semifinal trip to Middle Tennessee the day after Thanksgiving.
“Dyersburg is big, fast and has several skilled players,” Kirby said. “We know what we have to do and are ready for the challenge.”