When Covington has its bye week every season, like it did last week, the team usually takes a couple of days off from practice to rest and regroup.
Because of a couple of key injuries in their game against Milan Oct. 2, the Chargers did not have that luxury this year.
The team’s starting quarterback, senior Carson Ruffin, left the Milan game with an ankle injury and is questionable to play this week. Junior Tanner Stewart, Ruffin’s backup, was also injured Oct. 2 and is out this week.
That meant head coach J.R. Kirby and his staff had to come up with a plan C heading into a crucial Region 7-3A game at South Gibson this Friday.
“When you lose a quarterback and he’s also the holder, you lose three or four positions moving people around,” Kirby said. “The bye week came at a great time and we did a little more than we’ve done in the past.”
Kirby said junior Jalen Fayne, a starting defensive back and second string running back, has been working out at quarterback since the injuries and will likely be the starter Friday vs. South Gibson.
“He’s never played quarterback, but he’s an athlete, he can throw it and he can run, of course,” Kirby said. “He’s a dual threat guy and a big-time playmaker and we wanted to keep things the same and run our stuff.”
Freshman Braden Gover had been the team’s third-string quarterback through the Milan game.
“Braden’s going to be a good quarterback, but we didn’t want to throw a freshman out there, especially against South Gibson,” Kirby said.
Covington (6-1) and South Gibson (5-2) are both 2-1 in region play. Considering both team’s league losses came against first-place Milan, Friday’s winner will most likely finish second and earn home field advantage in the playoffs.
Because none of the teams in Region 8-3A are playing this year due to COVID-19, the four teams from Region 7-3A that qualify for the playoffs will get a forfeit win in the first round. The second-place team from Covington’s region will host the fourth seed in round two, which figures to be Westview. Whichever team finishes third will travel to Milan for round two.
South Gibson beat Covington in the regular season last year, but Covington got revenge in the playoffs, ending the Hornets’ season with a dramatic 14-10 win.
“They have a really good scheme on both sides of the ball and they’ll have their kids ready,” Kirby said. “We expect a dog fight for four quarters. They’re playing for the same thing we are, home field in the second round. With a win we’ll be at home against somebody. We don’t really care who.”