A couple of seasons ago, Covington head coach J.R. Kirby took a trip to Trenton to scout Milan.
The game was played on a Thursday night and that gave Kirby an idea. What if the Munford-Covington season opener was played on a Thursday night?
He talked to administrators at both schools and everybody agreed it was a good idea. Last year’s season opener was going to be played on a Thursday night, but with COVID restrictions in place the idea was scrapped.
But this year, with no COVID restrictions on crowd size, the Thursday night plan is a go.
“The idea is to get a bigger crowd,” Kirby said. “It’s the only show in town and it’s a county rivalry. Let’s make it a big deal. We hyped it all summer.”
“This should be one of the premier games in West Tennessee,” Munford head coach Slade Calhoun said. “I expect it be a monster crowd. I hope it’s a great game for all the fans.”
Will it be a great game for both fanbases? That’s probably the biggest storyline entering the game.
Covington has won the last three games against Munford and all of them were essentially over by halftime. The scores were 55-14 in 2018, 35-0 in 2019 and 41-6 last season.
While many of the players on this year’s teams were involved in the last two games, neither coach thinks that matters.
“Last year is last year,” Kirby said. “It’s a different team, different kids. I think they’re better. They were breaking out the spread (offense) last year. Now they’ve had a year in it. They have a tremedous athlete at quarterback and on defense Slade will do what he does, be aggressive.”
“They’ve hammered us three years in a row, but they haven’t played this team,” Calhoun said. “You have to keep it separate. If we win or lose this game you can’t let it affect the next game or the next game.”
The game features an interesting matchup at quarterback. Munford sophomore Jordan Bell will be making his first varsity start at quarterback. Covington senior Jalen Fayne will be making his third, although he’s been a starter on defense since he was a sophomore. Bell played in every game last year on defense.
“There is a difference between a senior and a sophomore,” Kirby said. “We hope he (Bell) makes some sophomore-like decisions, but he is a really good player. Jalen, he’s a dog, a gamer. I expect both kids will be fine.”
“Even though Fayne hasn’t played that much quarterback, he’s a three-year starter who has played a bunch,” Calhoun said. “His dad is a coach. I don’t look at him as an inexperienced player. In my opinion, for what they’re asking him to do, he’s got plenty of ability to do that.”
As for his own quarterback, Calhoun said, “Even though he’s just a sophomore, he’s stepped forward as a leader and carries himself that way. He played defense all last year. I don’t look for Jordan to be nervous or shaky. He just needs to play within himself, make the reads and lead the team to the best of his ability.”
However things go, things figure to be lively Thursday night in Munford.
“I think it will be loud and everybody will be fired up,” Kirby said. “It’s going to feel like high school football.”
WEEK 1 PREVIEWS
What: Covington vs. Munford
When: Thursday night at 7
Players to watch: Covington – QB Jalen Fayne, RB Jamarrion Dowell, LB Anthony Mason-Young, LB Christian Barbee; Munford – RB Auvic White, QB Jordan Bell, WR Icarius Hodgin, LB Ben Cerniglia
One thing to know: Covington has beaten Munford three straight years and none of the games were close, with the Chargers outscoring the Cougars 131-20.
What: Brighton vs. St. Benedict
When: Friday at 7
Players to watch: Brighton – QB Nick Harvell, RB Braxton Sharp, DL Jacob Rodriquez, DB Kolby Jones
One thing to know: St. Benedict’s first-year coach, Joey Magnifico, played under Brighton head coach Mike David when he coached at St. Benedict
What: Tipton-Rosemark vs. Halls
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Players to watch: Rosemark – QB Payne Fullen, OL Gibson Phillips, WR Sam Cannon, DB Jonathan Stewart
One thing to know: Payne Fullen is coming off a 2020 season during which he accumulated 1,776 total yards.