After pulling off a big upset in the Class 5A bracket in the first round, the Covington Lions will look to do it again this week back at home.
No. 25 Covington (6-5) welcomes No. 9 West Monroe to Jack Salter Stadium for a second-round showdown at 7 p.m. Friday.
Fresh off of a 34-0 rout of No. 8 Carencro a week ago, Lions coach Greg Salter said his team is ready for the challenge.
“Going into the game against Carencro we really felt like we matched up pretty well with them,” Salter said. “Throughout the season, we have been tested well by good teams. We had a pretty good predistrict schedule, but honestly our district (6-5A) is so underrated this year. We played some really good teams, and we really didn’t feel like Carencro was different from the teams we played in district.
“We didn’t turn the ball over and converted well on third downs. “Mix in the fact our defense is playing very well, and we were able to come away victorious.”
Another reason for the Lions success has been the return of quarterback Tyler Smith.
The starter for most of the regular season, Smith missed multiple games late in the year because of an injury but has returned and is expected to get the start.
“Tyler has a little more varsity experience, and it shows when he is out on the field,” Salter said.
“Marquell Hollins came in when he went down and did a good job, and we are confident in both of those guys leading our offense.”
Going up against one of the more widely known high school programs in the state, Salter said the Rebels coming to town has been the talk of Covington this week.
“You can absolutely feel it throughout the community,” he said. “People are talking and everybody knows the rich tradition and reputation West Monroe has. The thing a lot of young people don’t realize is people use to say the same exact thing about Covington High School back in their heyday. Our kids are excited.”
Last week West Monroe (9-2) defeated No. 24 Sam Houston 49-21.
After losing starting quarterback Jon Randle Belton before the start of the regular season because of a knee injury, freshman Slade Bolden took over as the Rebels quarterback. Bolden rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Sam Houston and senior running back Devonte Williams had 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“This game is going to be right up my alley,” Salter said. “This is the kind of football I like. It is going to be two hard-nosed teams getting after it each and every play. This is going to be good, old-fashion tough football.”
Salter will counter the West Monroe rushing attack with his duo of freshman Devin Brumfield and senior Joshua Bickham. The two running backs have combined for over 2,100 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns.
“It is very important for both of them to have good games,” Salter said.
“They are two great high school football players that when you put the ball in their hands, special things can happen. We are going to continue to do that.”