ST. AMANT — Make no mistake, Devin Brumfield is one of the best running backs St. Tammany Parish has seen in quite a while.
Only a sophomore, Brumfield rushed for 214 yards on 41 carries and a touchdown, but it was not enough as No. 23-seeded Covington fell to St. Amant 36-21 in Class 5A first-round round.
Committing 10 penalties for 74 yards and turning the ball over twice, Covington coach Greg Salter said his team’s mistakes doomed their chances.
“Penalties and turnovers cost us the game,” Salter said. “When you get to the postseason, those things decide these types of games when two good teams play each other. We have been on the better end of some of those games throughout this season, but unfortunately we were on the lower end of it tonight.”
Up 23-21 late in the fourth quarter, St. Amant’s Nathan Taylor returned a Covington punt 52 yards for a touchdown to seal the game and the lead for the Gators (9-2).
Covington (6-5) took a 21-17 lead on its first possession of the third quarter when it capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Austin Schexnaydre.
“We drove down the field and did what we were accustomed to doing as an offense,” Salter said. “Devin had a great series; he had 10 of the 13 runs. Our offense line played their butts off. We had some chances to build upon it, but credit St. Amant. They are a good team and made the plays when they needed to.”
The Gators immediately answered with a 70-yard drive of their own with Taylor taking it in from 13 yards out to give the hosts the lead for good.
St. Amant took its opening possession of the game and drove it 66 yards for a touchdown when Hayden Mallory found Tanner Mayo for an 11-yard touchdown.
Shut out for the first quarter, the Lions got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Joshua Alfaro hit Tyson Blanks for a 66-yard touchdown.
The Gators answered two plays later when Taylor scored on a 65-yard touchdown run to take a 14-7 lead.
Devin Brumfield caped an eight-play, 80-yard drive on the ensuing possession, scoring from 2 yards to tie the game back up 14-14.
Taking advantage of a second Covington fumble late in the second quarter, Briggs Bourgeois’ 40-yard field goal gave the Gators a 17-14 advantage.
Salter couldn’t say enough good things about his standout running back Brumfield, who he will still get to coach for the next two years.
“He is just all heart,” Salter said. “I say it every week, Devin Brumfield is a better person than he is a player. He is such a great kid. It was a physical game for him. He is a warrior and I’m glad he is on our team and we get to see him grow these next two seasons.”
St. Amant advances to take on Hahnville in the next round.