The Covington Cougars pulled an upset last week with a road shutout of Honaker. On Friday night Rod Tenney's team was in Fort Chiswell to butt heads with the 11-1 Pioneers, a team that has been focused and sharp following a late season loss to Graham.
Covington and Fort Chiswell matched up for a spot in the 1A state semifinals. Both teams were riding three-game winning streaks coming into the contest.
The visitors got on the board first on the opening drive of the game. Luke Moye scrambled to buy some time and found Raquann Matthews in the endzone for the Cougar touchdown, 7-nothing Covington.
Fort Chiswell got on the board with a field goal and they got the ball back when Taylor Gilman tipped Brandon Phillips’ pass. Jared Hovencamp came up with the pick.
The Pioneers' drive continued into the second quarter where Brett Mabry kept it himself and took it 33 yards to the house. Fort Chiswell on top 10-7.
On the ensuing Covington possession, the Cougars looked to Matthews again. He hauled in the pass from Moye and is off for a 62-yard touchdown reception, putting the Cougars back out front 13-10 after a blocked extra point.
From there though, Fort Chiswell got into a groove. Now up 16-13, Dallas Ward gets the ball and runs it in from 28 yards out for the Pioneer TD. They scored 20 unanswered in the second quarter and took a 30-20 lead into the half.
After the break, Fort Chiswell pushed its lead back to 17 when Mabry kept it himself again for the 10-yard touchdown to cap-off the opening drive of the third quarter, making it 37-20 Pioneers. Shortly after, Covington responded. Matthews again on the receiving end of the pass for a 25-yard TD, and the Cougars cut the lead to 37-27 after another blocked extra point. Fort Chiswell didn’t let them get any closer though.
"They kept hanging around though. Six made some great plays on us. We had people there, he just made some plays,” Fort Chiswell Head Coach Stephen James said. “I think as the game wore on we were able to wear on them with our size and I think that was probably the biggest key for us."
Ward scored his third touchdown of the game late in the third to make it 44-26. Then in the 4th, just for good measure, Patrick Beidleman got in for the touchdown. Fort Chiswell goes on to beat Covington 58-32.
"We went in at halftime and we talked about it and we told ourselves we were going to narrow down the big plays, and that made the big difference for them. And after we stopped the big plays, we had it wrapped up," Brett Mabry said.
Dallas Ward, who had four touchdowns, added: "We just do what we do. Our coaches coach us very well and our line, we have our good blocking assignments and we just execute and do us. They're a good team. I won't take anything away from them. They're a good team. We just wanted it more."
With the win, Fort Chiswell improves to 12-1, advancing to the state semifinals next week. As for Covington, they finish the season at 9-4.
"Most of the year no one gave us a chance, but these kids don't know how to quit. They're a great bunch of kids. It's as good a season as I've had. I've enjoyed every minute of it. I hate to see it end," Covington coach Rod Tenney said.