covington munford football

Ke''Shun Gant picks up a few yards during last year's Covington-Munford game, which Covington dominated in a 55-14 win. This year's game will be played tonight in Munford. 

There have been some stretches during the Covington-Munford football rivalry when one of the teams dominated the other. This is not one of those stretches. 

The series is tied 5-5 over the last 10 seasons and most of the games were very competitive. 

Last year, however, was not one of those competitive games. Covington scored touchdowns on each of its four possessions, needing just 18 plays to take a 28-0 lead en route to a 55-14 victory. 

Rivalry games, especially when they’re played in Week 1, are hard to predict, but everything points to a very competitive game. Although Covington has won a ton of games in recent seasons, it hasn’t won in Munford since 2013. 

“It’s a very tough place to play,” said Covington head coach J.R. Kirby, who was Munford’s head coach in 2014 and 2015. Munford beat Covington both of those seasons. 

“They’re going to have a great crowd. You’ll have the band rocking. They’re going to come down that hill fired up. They play well at home.”

Nick Markle, who is entering his fourth season as Munford’s head coach, is 1-2 against Covington. He was Kirby’s assistant during his two-year tenure at the school.

Munford played its jamboree game after Covington’s game last week. The Munford players congratulated Covington on its win over Crockett County and the Covington players wished Munford good luck. 

“Coach Kirby and I go way back. I think it’s a healthy rivalry,” Markle said. “There’s not a lot of animosity between our ballclubs. I expect, just like every other year, except maybe last year, another slobber knocker. Coach Kirby is going to run the ball at us and I’m going to run the ball at him.”

Kirby admitted it was strange when he returned to Munford in 2017 to play the Cougars when he was an assistant coach at Covington. Munford won that one, 16-6, before avenging that set back in a big way last season. 

“Last year things were emotional and you could feel it from the get go,” Kirby said. “I think it’s going to be that way again this year. “We’ve got to take a young football team on the road and try and get one, try to start 1-0. We’re going to have rely on our defense to get that done.”

“It’s just going to be who can bow up and make the stops and who can not turn the ball over and cut down on mistakes,” Markle said. “At the end of the day that’s we’ve got to do.”

Over the last five seasons four of the Munford-Covington games were low-scoring affairs. Considering both teams graduated a lot of offensive starters and bring back a lot of defensive starters (nine for each team), points could be hard to come by. 

“We’re going to find out where we’re at. We’re going to find out what kind of football we’ve got,” Kirby said. “These young kids, especially on offense, will be under the lights for the first time. How are they going to handle that? It’s going to be the biggest crowd they’ve ever played in front of.”

What: Covington vs. Munford

Where: Munford High School

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Cougars to watch: RB Traveon Hawkins, LB Derek Ross, WR Jesse Savage, DL Carson Roberson

Chargers to watch: RB Marcus Hayes, WR Josh McGarity, LB Caleb Winfrey, LB Lareko Burton

Story lines: Marcus Hayes, a Mr. Football semifinalist last year for Covington, did not play in last week’s jamboree because of an injury. His status for Friday’s game is uncertain ... Munford’s offensive backfield will be very young. Sophomore Auvic White scored the Cougars’ lone touchdown in jamboree action last week. 

 

What: Brighton vs. Raleigh-Egypt

Where: Brighton High School

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Cardinals to watch: QB Nick Johnson, LB Sam Dunlap, OL Jackson Kelley, WR Tyler Burnett 

Story lines: You might be tempted to think this is one of those games teams schedule to start the season with an easy win,  but you would be wrong. The Pharoahs went 7-4 last year, defeating Millington, Harding Academy, Melrose and Trezevant. Raleigh-Egypt made it to the Class 3A state quarterfinals two seasons ago. First-year Brighton head coach Mike David said, “We need to be ready. They’re a very good ball club. We need to bring our A game for Raleigh-Egypt. They’re big and they’re fast.”

 

What: Tipton-Rosemark vs. Potts Camp

Where: Potts Camp, Miss. 

When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Rebels to watch: RB Mac Fullen, QB Tyler Byrd, LB Jordan Artzer, OL Matthew Coats

Story lines: It should be interesting to see what Rosemark’s offense looks like in the season opener. Coach Collin Pinner said his team will pass much more and quarterback Tyler Byrd is new to the position. One thing we know for sure: Mac Fullen will be getting his hands on the ball a lot. The senior is already TRA’s all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer. Pinner said Fullen will also play some wideout with the Rebels opening up the offense. 

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​

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