|Covington stop brings sudden end to OC year |
|Posted: Monday, November 14, 2011 7:01 pm |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
After all that, it came down to just one play.
After more than two hours of a roller-coaster game that had produced 12 touchdowns, 83 points, 117 plays and 679 yards over four full quarters and two overtime periods, Obion Central’s epic playoff game with Covington came down to just one more snap.
Covington stopped Marcus Parr for a two-yard loss on a run around the left end on a two-point conversion for a dramatic 42-41 win in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs Friday night at Covington.
“We went with one of the best players in the state on a good play,” OC head coach Shawn Jackson said. “They made a play, and we didn’t. I have no regrets about the decision. I’d do it again. I’d call the same play again.”
Going around either end with Parr, normally a wide receiver, taking the hand-off had become yet another lethal weapon in the Rebels’ offensive arsenal, getting Central three touchdowns in the first round against Fairley the previous week and another TD in this game.
But, this time, with the season on the line, the Chargers reached the corner before OC did.
It was a sudden end to one of the greatest seasons in 51 years of football at Obion Central, the Rebels closing the book on 2011 with a 9-3 record, tying a school record for wins and equaling its longest postseason stay.
“We didn’t lose, we got beat,” Jackson said. “We got beat by a great football team.”
Covington, meanwhile, improves to 10-2 and will now host Chester County in the quarterfinal round this week.
Jackson’s decision to go for two points after pulling within a point of the second overtime, thus guaranteeing the game would end right there, was based on the two teams’ success against each other all night.
By that time, each had scored six touchdowns with the two kickers combining for 11 point-after kicks.
It had taken Central all of two plays to score its go-ahead TD in the first quarter, Covington then duplicating that in the second frame.
So, with the prospects of playing all night a very real possibility and with a multi-dimensional offense guided by talented players at his disposal, Jackson’s win-or-go-home gamble made sense.
“It was just a situation where we went back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and we play to win here,” Jackson said. “It was just a great back-and-forth battle all night. They’d turn it over; we’d turn over. We didn’t capitalize; they didn’t capitalize.”
Indeed, both teams had their chances to put the game away, or at the very least make it extremely difficult for the other to come back.
Central, however, was plagued by misfires and other mistakes in the passing game, two lost fumbles and a late interception that almost opened the door for a Covington win in regulation.
The Chargers, meanwhile, suffered penalties at the worst of times, wiping off several big gains, lost three fumbles and had a wide open pass for an easy touchdown in the final minutes of regulation fall incomplete.
The fourth quarter had a game’s worth of momentum swings, beginning with a game-tying touchdown drive that saw Covington do what it does best over the course of 80 yards and 16 plays.
Staying almost exclusively on the ground and converting three third downs, the Chargers tied the game at 28-all on a fourth-down pass from Britt Dunn to Carlos Burton with 5:17 to play.
Central then failed to convert on fourth down due to a highly questionable spot on a catch by LaDevin Fair.
“I thought we had the first down,” Jackson said of the pass to Fair. “It was pretty obvious we had the first down there, but it was a bad call. We were going to try to get downfield, milk the clock and try to kick a field goal.”
The Rebels then held Covington on downs only to see Shelton Lyons pick off a Trey Phipps pass at midfield and return it 19 yards.
Johnston White, who had 239 yards and two TDs on 29 carries, got the Chargers seven yards closer, but he then dropped a wide open pass. Forced into the game to try a 42-yard field goal, Josh Watts’ low kick was tipped and fell short with 8.5 seconds to play in the fourth period.
Central took the ball first in overtime and scored on a 10-yard pass from Phipps to Mason McGrew. Covington responded with a two-yard TD run by Collier Robinson on its third play, and then the Chargers went ahead 42-35 on Robinson’s four-yard run in the second OT.
A nine-yard Phipps-to-Parr put the Rebels at the one, where Phipps snuck in to get Central within one point.
All the scoring in the second half, which included three Rebel TDs in the third quarter alone, was in contrast to the first half, where the two teams battled each other and their own errors with Covington taking a 14-7 halftime lead.
Parr fumbled on the game’s first play, setting up Covington to strike first as Dunn kept for a one-yard score at 7:16. Parr redeemed himself, however, with a nine-yard TD run with 36 seconds left in the first period to tie the game.
Central did not score the rest of the half, while Covington got back on the board with a 34-yard run from White at 8:51 of the second.
Covington blew some big opportunities, though, fumbling at the Rebel 18 near the end of the first half and then losing a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Fair scored on a 12-yard run to tie the game at 14, but then the Chargers came right back with a 43-yard scoring run by White and then had another good chance spoiled when a fumble recovery was wasted when Terrence Pierson’s 25-yard run was called back on a holding penalty.
Covington eventually gave up possession on downs, setting up OC for one long offensive haul and one quick defensive strike to take the lead.
Phipps’ 15-yard scoring pass to Parr over the middle completed a nine-play, 61-yard drive to tie the game for a third time. Then one play after the follow-up kick, Parr picked up a fumble and raced 41 yards to give OC its first lead with 47.6 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Covington regained its composure and then the game’s momentum with its long, game-tying drive.
Central had 19 players finish their prep careers at Covington.
“This senior class, they’re the ones I’ve been the closest to because I’ve had them all four years,” Jackson said. “I’m ecstatic to have those kids. I love each and every one of them. All of them are outstanding human beings. I love’em all.”
The Class of 2012 seniors ignited an amazing turnaround for the program.
Coming in with Jackson, the group was 0-10 its freshman year but then posted an overall 20-14 record with three state playoff berths.
Members of the class are Phipps, Parr, McGrew, Fair, Tanner Cary, Tanner Miller, Nathan Ashley, Chris Douglas, Parker McMinn, Chris Donaldson, Garrett Dunn, Dillion Hamil, Josh Quinton, Kevin Cumana, Stratton Moore, Landry Nolan, Dalton Gooch, Jordan Smith and Skylar Hopkins. Published in The Messenger 11.14.11