Playing without their leading rusher and with their second-leading rusher less than 100-percent, the Covington Lions were still leading West Monroe 7-3 midway through the third quarter.
However, the physicality of the Rebels took over in the fourth quarter as West Monroe scored 21 unanswered points en route to a 24-7 win over Covington in the second round of the LHSAA Class 5A playoffs.
With the win, West Monroe (10-2) advances to take on top-seeded Byrd in the state quarterfinals next week.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our kids battled,” Covington coach Greg Salter said. “Under the circumstances and the fact we are playing a good West Monroe with what we had available. The way the kids fought just made me proud of my team.”
Freshman running back Devin Brumfield was held out of the game with a high-ankle sprain and senior Joshua Bickham played despite suffering a knee-injury last week in the win over Carencro.
Despite the big injuries after a scoreless opening quarter, the Lions still took a 7-3 lead on Tyrann Garrett’s 1-yard touchdown run.
“It wasn’t about who wasn’t out there for us,” Salter said. “But it was about who was out there and they battled until the very end.”
Covington (6-6) had the lead until midway through the third quarter. Freshman quarterback Slade Bolden scored on an 8-yard go-ahead touchdown to give the Rebels a 10-7 lead.
Devonte Williams and Bolden would punch across touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Williams had a 46-yard touchdown and Bolden added his second touchdown, from a yard out to make it 24-7 Rebels.
Only able to throw for 61 yards against a stiff West Monroe pass rush, quarterback Tyler Smith said he and his teammates did all they could.
“It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Smith said. “We just lost focus at times and we have to realize that when we have opportunities to score points as an offense, we have to get the job done.”
Williams finished the game as the leading rusher with 131 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. Splitting time under center with Robert Faust, Bolden also had a solid game with 74 yards on 21 carries and a pair of touchdown runs.
West Monroe coach Jerry Arledge said he was proud of his team’s performance in a physical, hard-fought win.
“We thought it was going to be exactly that coming in and that is what we told our football team,” Arledge said. “I guess it took until halftime for them to actually believe us. We played hard throughout, but just made some stupid mistakes early.”
in the game. We know we don’t win or lose in the first half.
“In the second half, we started to really pound on them physically,” Arledge said. “That is what we always hope we can do. Covington is a very well-coached game and it would have probably been a different score had No. 6 (Devin Brumfield) played for them.”