With five minutes left in the third quarter of Friday night’s Covington-Munford game, it looked like the packed house on hand in Munford was going to get something that has been rare of late: a down-to-the-wire football game between two Tipton County rivals.
When Covington running back Skylan Smith scored from nine yards out to cut Munford’s lead to 16-13 midway through the third quarter, an exciting finish seemed like it could be in the cards.
Munford ruined that idea pretty quickly by scoring touchdowns on its next two possessions and holding Covington’s offense in check. The result: a 30-13 Munford win. After losing four straight to Covington from 2018 to 2021, the Cougars have two straight victories against their rivals to the north.
“We’ll learn from it and we’ll move on and try and get a win next week,” Covington coach J.R. Kirby said. “I tip my hat to Coach (Slade) Calhoun and them. They beat us two years in a row. We got what we deserved.”
When Kirby said his team got what it deserved, he was referring to penalties (14 for 123 yards) and mental mistakes. A blown coverage on a third-and-long play in the first half led to a Munford score.
“Bottom line, I thought our kids played extremely hard, but I’m very disappointed in the loss. At the end of the day, we made too many mistakes and they capitalized on them. I give them credit for it.”
Munford was far from perfect as well. The Cougars were whistled for 12 penalties for 115 yards and quarterback Jordan Bell threw a rare interception.
“Just sloppy,” Calhoun said when asked to assess his team’s performance. “I felt like we stopped ourselves.”
“Mistakes and penalties could have been fixed,” said Bell, who completed 11 of 15 passes for 240 yards and a score. “I felt like we came out here and played good for the first game, but there’s always things you have to work on.”
Covington drove deep into Munford territory on the first drive of the, but a blocked field goal ended the scoring threat.
Munford took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter when Bell scored on a six-yard TD run The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard pass from Bell to Martavious Bell. Antonio Mennis made a 28-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to push Munford’s lead to 9-0.
Braden Gover hit Ryan Mize for a 21-yard TD on a fourth down play with 4:55 left in the first half to make the score 9-7, but Munford answered quickly when Bell connected with Kollin Collier on a 60-yard touchdown to make the score 16-7 at the half.
Collier finished with two catches for 114 yards for Munford and Isaiah Cobbs caught seven balls for 70 yards. Martavious Bell caught two for 56 and Ty Stark rushed 17 times for 86 yards. Gover finished with 82 yards on 10 carries, including a 55-yard run that led to Covington’s second touchdown.
“We’re really dynamic on offense,” Calhoun said. “If we can just get out of our own way with penalties, we’ll be good … I thought (defensive coordinator) Zach Rogowksi had a super plan that was executed well.”
“We made way too many mistakes again this year,” Kirby said. “They played like a veteran club. Their key players made plays and ours didn’t.”
Both Munford and Covington will play much more important games as the season progresses. This game means nothing when it comes to the postseason, but it’s still clearly something that matters to the players, coaches and fans.
“It’s a county rivalry, so it’s always special, but it’s still one game at a time,” Jordan Bell said. “We got a goal bigger than this.”