Now that we are a little more than halfway through the high school football season, this seems like a good time to run through a few things we’ve learned along the way.
The most obvious thing I think we’ve learned is that it looks like high school football can co-exist with COVID-19.
I love it when people say what I’m about to write because it implies you are not honest sometimes (which is true of everybody), so … I’ll be honest, I did not think it was a good idea to play high school football back in early August.
The prospect of high school kids smashing into each other all week during practice, spending time in traditionally less-than-sanitary locker rooms and then smashing into each other for two and a half hours on Friday nights did not make sense to me during a global pandemic.
Well, I guess I was wrong. There have been a few issues across the state with outbreaks within high school programs and scheduling has been very challenging for many teams, but we’re about to enter Week 7 and things are humming along pretty well while COVID numbers are improving.
One local coach told me there’s no way to keep teenagers away from each other in their free time, so we may as well play football.
That’s starting to make more and more sense to me.
Another thing we’ve learned is that Covington is really, really good.
If you throw out a narrow 20-13 win over Haywood in Week 2, the Chargers have dispatched their other five opponents by an average score of 45-5.
Once again, I’ll be honest: I have never been a football coach nor have I played organized football. I was 6-1 and 145 pounds in high school so it would have been hazardous to my health.
So when I analyze what I see you can take it for what it’s worth, but the way Covington is just demoralizing its opponents is fascinating. They are not tricking them. I’ve never seen Covington’s playbook, but I’d bet it’s a little smaller than the ones used by other teams in the area.
I’m sure I’m over simplifying this, but it seems like Covington only runs about five or six different plays per game and nobody has an answer.
A perfect example of this is the Haywood win. With Covington trying to run out the clock with a seven-point lead, Carson Ruffin handed off to Eumorrion Flowers on nine of the final 12 plays of a game-clinching drive. Flowers ran it right up the middle every time and a very athletic and pretty large Haywood defense could not stop him.
While other teams run spread offenses out of multiple formations while players look at their play wristbands between every play, Covington just keeps it simple and does what it does really, really well.
We’ll learn a little more about Covington when it plays sixth-ranked Milan this Friday, but right now they look unstoppable.
We’ve also learned the playoffs are going to very weird, at least in the first couple of rounds.
Munford edged Brighton two weeks ago in the most entertaining game of the season and won the Region 8-5A title because all the other teams in the region have been sidelined due to Shelby County COVID concerns.
Therefore, Munford will be seeded first in the playoffs, Brighton will be second and both teams will be hosting playoff games. Some of the teams in Region 7-5A, which match up with 8-5A in the first round of the playoffs, have missed games due to COVID, so just who Munford and Brighton will host in the first round is very much up in the air.
Henry County is clearly the best team in 7-5A and due to finishing in the top two Munford would avoid them until the quarterfinals and Brighton until the second round.
Region 7-3A, where Covington resides, matches up with Region 8-3A in the playoffs. None of the teams in Region 8-3A are playing football this year so the four teams from 7-3A that make the playoffs will have byes in the first round before playing each other in the second round.
Got all that?