Covington rides big plays, defense to 35-28 victory over Ouachita Parish

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Replay: Covington 35, Ouachita 28

COVINGTON – Call it bending without breaking. Call it opportunistic.

Despite allowing more than 400 total yards, it was Covington’s defense that played the key role in the Lions’ 35-28 victory over Ouachita Parish in a Class 5A second-round playoff game Friday night at Jack Salter Stadium.

The game aired live on Crescent City Sports.

The No. 2-seeded Lions (12-0) will travel in the quarterfinals next Friday to face 10th-seeded Hahnville. No. 15 seed Ouachita Parish ended its season at 7-5.

In the first half, Covington twice turned away Ouachita at the goal line and forced three turnovers.

“We knew their strengths were a lot of things that were going to give us trouble,” said Covington coach Greg Salter. “Our guys weathered the storm. That was the difference in the game.”

Twice, Ouachita had first-and-goal inside the Covington 5 but failed to score – with a missed field goal and a fumble recovery by Chandler Washington. The Covington defense also got interceptions from Milton Clark and Juwan Harrell, the latter of which was a diving play in the final minute of the first half.

Meanwhile, the Lions offense struck for a pair of big plays in the passing game – an 80-yard pass from Joshua Alfaro to Jeremiah Driver in the first quarter and a 67-yard halfback pass from Devin Brumfield back to Alfaro – as Covington built a 28-7 halftime lead.

“We knew they were going to commit their defenders to the box,” Salter said. “We felt like the guys they would have trouble accounting for were the fullback and the quarterback. Fortunately for us, it worked out.”

Those would be Covington’s only two completions of the night. The majority of the workload fell on senior running back Devin Brumfield, who rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Brumfield, a Texas Tech commitment, has 2,034 yards and 21 touchdowns this season.

Alfaro also had a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a score.

Ouachita quarterback Jabari Johnson accounted for 331 yards on the night – 256 passing and 75 rushing – and passed for four touchdowns, including three in the second half to bring his team within a touchdown.

Ouachita got one last possession with a chance to tie the game, taking over at midfield with 17 seconds left, but Johnson’s Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete as time expired.

Next up is a rematch of a first-round game from last year’s 5A playoffs in Hahnville, a game won by the Tigers, 31-17, and a matchup of two of the state’s top running backs, Brumfield and Hahnville’s Anthony “Pooka” Williams.

“Our kids played hard there last year,” Salter said. “We had some success but weren’t able to finish it off in the end. Hopefully, we can go in with that same mentality and see what happens. At this point, every team’s a great team.”

For now, Salter was satisfied to enjoy his 12th consecutive victory.

“We’re blessed to get away (with the win),” Salter said. “That was a great team.”

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Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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