A rash of injuries in recent weeks has forced Covington to reshuffle its lineup on both sides of the ball — but the Lions adjusted well Friday night with a 35-17 victory in District 6-5A at Northshore.
As the 32nd-ranked nonselect school, the Lions continue to cling to postseason aspirations, and they understand the urgency.
“We have to step up and help the team in any way we can,” said Covington defensive back Marquell Hollins, who started at quarterback the first seven games of the season. “Each week is a challenge, and everyone has to do what is asked.”
Covington (4-4, 2-3) returns home next week to take on Hammond, while Northshore travels to take on Ponchatoula with two weeks of play left in the regular season.
The Lions overwhelmed Northshore (2-6, 1-4) in the first half as Devin Brumfield ran for most of his 186 yards and scored two touchdowns en route to a 35-3 lead. With Hollins playing the entire game on defense, the Lions limited the Panthers to 39 yards of total offense.
Sophomore Josh Alfaro started at quarterback in place of Hollins and made his first completion count — it went for a 43-yard touchdown to Kejohn Batiste a few minutes after Austin Schexnaydre had put the Lions in front 7-0 on a 10-yard run.
Though the game clock wasn’t working in the first half, the Covington defensive game plan certainly was, as seven of Northshore quarterback Walter Harris’ first eight passes were incompletions. In addition to Brumfield’s two scoring runs, Tyler Evans intercepted a pass, taking it back 34 yards for a 28-3 advantage.
Brumfield’s second run came in the closing minutes of the first half, and it was the last time Covington saw the end zone.
The only points of the first half for Northshore came on a 22-yard field goal right after Covington’s first score.
“We’ve really been suffering since week two or three with the injury bug and every week, it’s one or two good players,” Covington coach Greg Salter said. “The kids have committed to helping the team in whatever way they can. Tyran Garrett, who is a backup running back, played offensive guard and did a pretty good job.”
Northshore managed to get a little closer in the second half, starting with Harris’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Powell, and late in the game, Matt Harvey scored on a six-yard run, cutting the Covington lead to 35-17 with under two minutes left.
The Panthers recovered the onside kick but were unable to convert it into a score.
“I challenged our team at halftime and got in their faces a little bit, and they responded,” Northshore coach Mike Bourg said. “We couldn’t block anybody in the first half. We can’t keep going three-and-out, and that wares on the defense. We have to find a way to move the ball more effectively.”