After their first two games of the season, Mandeville fans were worried after a 0-2 start.
Now the Skippers head into the state playoffs as arguably one of the hottest teams in Class 5A.
Taking advantage of five Covington turnovers and holding the Lions to zero yards of total offense, the Skippers picked up a 29-0 victory Friday night.
“I feel good about where our squad is heading into the playoffs,” Mandeville coach Guy Lecompte said. “We got a couple of guys banged up, and I want to check on their health, but I feel good heading into the playoffs.”
Codie Nye got the Skippers (7-3, 6-1) on the scoreboard early when he scored from 15 yards out after a Mandeville fumble recovery to give the Skippers a 7-0 lead.
Turnovers led to more Mandeville points in the opening quarter when Parker Pastorello hit the first of his four field goals to make it 10-0 for the Skippers.
On the night, Pastorello hit fit goals of 29, 29, 40 and 32 yards.
The stellar Mandeville defense got on the scoreboard in the second quarter after junior linebacker Jonathan Picone returned a fumble he forced and recovered 15 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0.
In a game that featured 24 combined penalties for over 200 yards, the Mandeville defense held the duo of Devin Brumfield and Joshua Bickham to only 51 yards on 16 combined carries.
“It was just outstanding,” Lecompte said of his defense. “They have been big all year long for us. The coaches have done a great job putting the kids in position, and the kids have done what we have asked them to do. They have kept us in some games ,and they have allowed us to close out some games.”
Offensively, the Skippers were led by sophomore running back Fritz Walker ,who had 75 yards on 12 carries. Walker made his return after being ruled ineligible last season.
Sophomore quarterback Joseph Bulovas efficiently ran the Mandeville offense, completing a pair of big passes for 57 yards. He also nailed a 52-yard field goal at the end of the half.
“We have just stayed focused all year long,” Bulovas said. “There really hasn’t been some sort of turnaround, we have stayed calm and now we are just peaking at absolutely the right time. You want to be playing your best ball heading into the playoffs.
Ranked No. 22 in the state power rankings heading into the game, Covington (5-5, 4-3) is expected to be one of the 32 teams when the 5A bracket is announced on Sunday afternoon.
“Just too many mistakes early in the game,” Lions coach Greg Salter said. “Particularly with our snaps. We just could not get anything going offensively. We wasted too many plays and put ourselves behind the eight ball too many times.
“All you can do is watch the film and just try to correct the mistakes you made. I believe we are a good team and will have the chance to show it next week.”