The Covington Cougars made the long drive to Warsaw to open state level play against the Rappahannock Raiders. For the first few minutes of Friday night’s game it looked like they made it in vain. But the Cougars rallied to take a 51-28 to advance to next Friday’s game at Franklin.
Rappahannock took the opening kick off and marched right down the field with Will Hoover hitting Marquise Lanier in the right hand corner of the end zone with a 33-yard pass. Aaron Rock kicked the extra point. The Cougars, with a 5-5 record from the Pioneer District, couldn’t move the ball on their ensuing possession. The Raiders were back on offense. Almost to prove the first touchdown was no accident, Hoover hit a wide-open Lanier from 21 yards out in almost the exact same spot. Rock’s extra point kick was good.
Down 14-0 with only a few minutes gone in the opening period of play didn’t seem to bother the Cougars, By the close of the first 12 minutes of play they had tacked on two scores to tie the game. The first came on a 59-yard scamper by Troy Helton, the second on a three-yard plunge by Luke Moye. Both extra point kicks were good by Derek Dressler.
Covington opened the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal by Dressler to take the lead for the first time. But the Raiders showed a little firepower of their own when Tylek Sorrell took the next kick off on his own 10, cut through the oncoming Cougar team went to the right sidelines and raced 90 yards for the touchdown. The extra point was courtesy of Rock.
The Cougars came right back with Moye scoring on another three-yard burst. The extra point try was bothered by a bad snap. The holder, Moye alertly scooped up the ball and hit Colton Howard on a pass for the two points. Rappahannock responded with a drive with Hoover hitting Rock on a 16-yard pass and Rock adding the point after. The Raiders went to the halftime locker room up 28-25.
Covington took the opening second half kick off and marched right down the field with a crushing ground game that culminated in two-yard Moye run. The extra point kick was no good. They added another third quarter score on a 24-yard pass from Moye to Howard. The attempted two-point conversion pass was no good. The Raiders saw their offense sputter and fall short. Hoover’s passes went through the hands of the intended receivers and ground game couldn’t seem to click.
Covington added two more fourth quarter scores. Moye scored on a one-yard run with Dressler kicking the extra point. The final score was indicative of Rappahannock’s second half frustrations. They drove down the field into scoring position. Hoover dropped back to pass. His throw went into and out of the hands of the receiver and into the hands of Damell Tolson. Tolson raced 103 yards for the final score of the evening. Dressler added the final extra point on a kick.
“It was a hard fought game. Things just seemed to go our way in the second half. They (Rappahannock) are a good football team,” said Covington Coach Rod Tenney.
Rappahannock was led in rushing by Jaquan Thompson with 49 yards in eleven attempts. Will Hoover was two for a yard, Tyler Sumiel had four yards on one carry. Hoover connected on 15 of 27 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns on the night. Marquise Lanier had six catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns followed by Tylek Sorell with two receptions for 38 yards, Tyler Spear with two for 22 yards, Aaron Rock with two for 20 and a touchdown, and Tevin Fisher with two for 13 yards.
“We played a football game. It was a game of two halves,” said Rappahannock Coach William West. “That second quarter fumble hurt and we failed to convert on key third downs.”
The Raiders end the year with a winning record of 6-5.