GEISMAR — Dutchtown came up just one yard short.

Covington defensive back Milton Clark stopped Griffins wideout Noah Gray at the 1-yard line as time expired, preserving the unbeaten Lions’ 40-34 victory Friday night.

“I told those guys for every tackle that they made on that last drive where they fought and didn’t let a guy fall forward for one more yard, that it adds up. And in the end, that was the difference,” Covington coach Greg Salter said. “But I’ll be honest, I almost feel guilty that they have to go home at 1-2. I’m ecstatic that we’re 3-0, but they played an outstanding game and they’ve got an outstanding team. That was one of the funnest games I’ve been involved with.”

Although disappointed by the outcome, Dutchtown coach Guy Mistretta seemed to agree with his counterpart’s assessment.

“(Covington is) just so big, they wear on you. I thought the defense really showed that in that third quarter,” Mistretta said. “But my gosh, the offense kept fighting. By far their best performance all year. I’m just really, really proud of our guys. I just told them, I don’t care if we would have scored on the last play and made the extra point, I’d be no more proud than I am right now. It just gives you excitement about coming back next week and going back to work.”

Trailing by two touchdowns at the start of the fourth quarter, Dutchtown scored twice in the final five minutes – on passes from Ben May to Gray and Brandon Davies – to tie the game at 34-all with 2:08 to play.

However, Covington quickly responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Joshua Alfaro to big-play wideout Kejohn Batiste to reclaim the lead 40 seconds later.

Batiste, Alfaro and running back Devin Brumfield were difficult for the Dutchtown defense to stop throughout, accounting for the majority of the Lions’ offensive production. Their repeated big plays helped Covington reel off 20 unanswered points in the third quarter to claim the lead after trailing 20-14 at halftime.

Bruising back Brumfield ran 21 times for 193 yards and a touchdown, while Batiste caught eight Alfaro passes for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He reeled in a 43-yard scoring pass to give the Lions their first touchdown in the opening quarter. Alfaro passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another score to pace the Covington offense.

Dutchtown drove 72 yards in 12 plays on its final possession — converting twice on fourth down — but had just two seconds left on the clock when Mays took the snap on the final play. He zipped a 19-yard completion to Gray at the goal line, but Clark’s clutch tackle allowed the Lions to escape with the win.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Salter said. “There were a lot of mistakes made, but it was two teams that just constantly fought and made good plays after bad plays. I think both teams were able to show a lot of character and the ability to overcome adversity and I think it’s going to carry both of us a long way throughout the rest of the season.”