|Central negatives outweigth positives |
Obion Central won a few little battles but still lost another war.
Jakob Edmison makes a low tackle against Covington.
Though the Rebels’ season-long misfortunes continued in a 25-0 Region 7-3A loss to Covington Friday night that kept the county locals winless with just two games left this season, there was a small glimmer of hope in the second half.
The Rebels held the Chargers to zero points after intermission against most of Covington’s offensive starters.
“Our guys could’ve quit, but they stuck it out,” first-year Central head coach Jason Driggers said. “When we went in the locker room, we told them that we wanted a shutout in the second half and they came out and met that goal.”
There was more bad news, however, as Rebel sophomore quarterback Zack Cavness left the game after the first series of the third quarter with what was believed to be a sprained shoulder.
The extent of his injury to his prospective quarterback of the future was not known with Driggers using a “wait-and-see” philosophy and stating that the team trainer will put ice on it and “we’ll see how it feels today.” Chase Clanton left his most recent starting job at split-end to return to quarterback for the remainder of the game.
The OC ground game was again dismal, totaling a minus-three yards.
Defensively, Central had its second-best outing of the season, allowing 318 yards (279 rushing, 39 passing) to the Chargers (2-6, 2-3 in Region 7-3A).
Yet when the chips were down, the county locals came up short, especially when challenged by the speed of Covington’s running game.
“Speed kills,” Driggers said after the game. “We stopped them up the middle early on, but once they settled in and started doing some outside zone runs and sweeps, we just couldn’t adjust to that. Our linebackers had a lot of trouble containing them.”
Obion Central’s first drive began with promise with Cavness nearly halving the distance to the first down marker with a four-yard gain on the opening play. The sophomore QB took to the air on second down with a three-yard toss to Andrew Heuck.
Brandon Armour moved the chains with a seven-yard haul on third down with Cavness calling Clanton’s number for a 23-yard aerial to get another fresh set of downs.
However, three plays later, Covington’s Thomas Hall picked off a Cavness pass on third down at the visitors’ 26 to kill the drive and put an end to OC’s hopes that they would be the first to score.
Hall, who also doubles as the team’s starting tailback, had five carries for 31 yards during the ensuing drive that was capped by a three-yard plunge to paydirt by Isiah Harris. Elon Weathers kicked the PAT through the uprights to put Covington up 7-0 with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
After a quick three-and-out and subsequent punt on the Rebels’ next offensive possession, the Chargers marched 56 yards on nine plays with Jessie Somerville capping the drive with a five-yard run for a touchdown.
The extra point attempt was blocked, with Covington leading 13-0 with 7:52 remaining in the second quarter.
Clanton was the recipient of OC’s highlight reel play of the night during the next drive with an over-the-shoulder catch on a Cavness offering that stretched 38 yards and ended at the Covington 31.
Four incomplete passes later, however, the Chargers geared back up on offense for the team’s quickest six-pointer of the night.
On the first play from scrimmage, Hall began to sweep right but he found himself within a traffic jam of OC defenders. In a split second, the Covington running back cut back left to turn the corner just in time to avoid any would-be tacklers.
Hall’s dash ended 69 yards later in the end zone. The Rebels blocked the point after with the Chargers up 19-0 with 6:58 remaining in the first half.
Hall carried the ball across the goal line once more with 2:41 remaining before intermission from nine yards out.
After the break, Central had a strong goal-line stand that could build confidence among the locker room. A bad snap that resulted in a fumble at the Rebels’ nine left Covington in great field position.
On fourth down with four yards to go for a touchdown, Chargers’ quarterback Donya Dyson ran a bootleg in the direction of the county locals’ sideline, but the signal caller was pushed out of bounds just two inches shy of the end zone.
Defensively, Austin Hopper was in on 14 stops with Bo Childers — returning from a two-week layoff due to a concussion — Mark Kissell and Jake Morris each taking part in nine takedowns in the loss.
“Our guys played hard all night,” Driggers boasted. “I think tonight was an improvement and we have made strides the past couple of weeks that we can build upon not only in the next two weeks of this season but next season as well.”
The Rebels take to the road this Friday at Haywood with Covington traveling to Ripley.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.