Covington faces tough, physical matchup with Ouachita Parish
Sometimes, playoff seeds truly reflect the excellence of one team and the flaws of another. While that is certainly the case with Covington, it is not the case with Ouachita Parish.
The unbeaten second-seeded Lions (11-0) look to continue their magical season when they host 15th-seed Ouachita Parish (7-4) Friday night at 7 p.m. in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs at Jack Salter Stadium. You can watch the game live at CrescentCitySports.com.
While the Lions have earned their lofty seed with a lofty season, the Lions are an under-seeded team, perhaps vastly so.
While the Lions have lost four games, those losses have come to traditional 4A power Neville, a 4A playoff team in Plaquemine, and to district 2-5A powers Ruston and West Monroe. The four losses were by a total of 16 points.
The Lions played the top-seeded and unbeaten Rebels to a one-point game, losing 14-13. They lost to Ruston and Plaquemine by three points. The Neville loss came by nine points.
Covington head coach Greg Salter took his first team to the state semifinals in 2013. They won a playoff game in 2014 but had not won another since until last week’s 35-21 victory over 31st-seed Thibodaux.
“I feel there is room for improvement,” Salter said. “I think we took our foot off the gas in the fourth quarter last week. That was good for us. We needed that to re-focus. Every snap matters in the playoffs. No lead is too comfortable in the playoffs. Every team is good and capable of scoring quick. You cannot lose your mental edge and focus.”
The Lions will have no such luxury against Ouachita Parish.
“They are very athletic and they are very aggressive,” Salter said. “That is a great formula for winning this time of year. It will be a real challenge for us. They are an excellent team but we are as well. They have a very good quarterback and running back, as we do. They grind you down and then hit you over the top with a big play. I expect a great game.”
Dylan Roberts leads a solid running game for the Lions with 135 carries for 1,057 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jabari Johnson has rushed for 767 yards and 10 scores and Chaunzavia Lewis has 754 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson has completed 79-of-146 passes for 1,300 yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Josh Newton is the top receiver with 27 catches for 620 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Defensively, Jaden Harris is the top tackler with 75.5 stops while Jacquez Jackson has 5.5 sacks. DaTavion Terry leads the Lions with three interceptions.
“It’s an intriguing matchup,” Salter said. “They commit their guys to the box to stop the run and play man coverage. Josh Alfaro will be important to us to open things up. Our receivers have to win on the outside. They have a very good secondary.”
Covington is led by senior running back Devin Brumfield. The Texas Tech commit has shattered virtually every record in Covington history. This season, he has rushed 250 times for 1,877 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Josh Alfaro has broken a host of school records as well. Alfaro has completed 111-of-164 passes (68%) for 2,095 yards with 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He has rushed 85 times for 732 yards and seven touchdowns. KeJohn Batiste is an outstanding receiver with 55 catches for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns while Elgin Bell has 35 receptions for 796 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Linebacker Derron Thompson leads the defense with 88.5 tackles while defensive end Trevor Betz has 71.5 tackles with nine sacks. Cornerback Milton Clark has three interceptions.
“I think it will come down to the running game,” Salter said. “If we can establish the run, we have a great chance to win and it will be a good night for us. Either way, it will come down to the wire.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…