Known for its quick passing attack, it was the rushing game that led St. Paul’s to victory against their crosstown rival.
Junior Dominic Davenport had 138 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in a 27-10 victory over Covington on Friday.
A penalty-fest early on, Covington (4-4, 3-2 District 6-5A) took advantage of an Isaiah Carter forced fumble and grabbed a 3-0 lead on Ian Connelly’s 24-yard field goal.
Turnovers again led to points, this time for St. Paul’s. Brett Manifold intercepted a Marquell Hollins pass, and seven plays later, Mason Hebert took in from 26 yards out to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead.
The lead grew to 14-3 early in the third quarter when Davenport scored on a 30-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1.
“It was amazing how well the offensive line did for us tonight,” Davenport said. “They were opening up holes all night long. They blocked well, and I was able to hit the holes when they opened up. The game plan from the get-go was to come out here, run the ball and punch them (Covington) in the mouth right away.”
A 32-yard touchdown pass from Kenny Sears to Oklahoma State commitment Jalen McCleskey gave St. Paul’s (6-2, 4-1) a comfortable 20-3 lead.
McCleskey finished the game as the leading receiver with 53 yards on six catches and a pair of touchdowns.
An excited St. Paul’s coach Ken Sears was happy to brag about the performance of his defense after the win.
“I thought we played outstanding defense throughout the game,” Sears said. “Particularly in the second half. We have been getting better and better little by little each week. Having played a lot of young guys early in the season is starting to pay off, because those guys have experience now and that allows us to have a tremendous amount of depth. Tonight was about our defense setting up good situations for our offense.”
The highlight of the night for the Lions came early in the fourth quarter when Tyler Evans returned a blocked field goal 102 yards for a touchdown, cutting the St. Paul’s lead to 20-10.
“We struggled offensively tonight,” Covington coach Greg Salter said. “But this game was won up front. St. Paul’s did a great job on the offensive and defensive line. We sputtered at times and couldn’t find any consistency at all. That played a big part in them getting an early lead like they did.”
The win for St. Paul’s sets up a showdown next Friday against Class 5A No. 3 Ponchatoula with the winner having the inside track for the 6-5A championship.
“I’m already more than excited,” Sears said. “We know how good they (Ponchatoula) are, but we are going to go in there with a great game plan and be ready to play.”