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Covington spoils Tide's night

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The Cougars came back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to ruin Galax's homecoming, 30-26.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Covington drove 77 yards in a little more than three minutes to spoil Galax’s homecoming, taking a 30-26 nondistrict win Friday over the Maroon Tide. Galax (1-7), which led 26-16 entering the fourth quarter, was stopped near midfield and punted to the Cougar 23-yard line with 4:39 remaining, holding on to a 26-22 lead. The Cougars (4-4) methodically marched downfield, staying mostly with the running game and driving to midfield before Keenan Smith hauled in a 29-yard R.J. Jeter pass to the Maroon Tide 20. Preston Waddell and Adam Simmons took turns carrying the ball, pushing to the Galax 8 before Jeter tossed to Ryan Hall on a quick hitter, with Hall making a sliding grab just across the goal line with 1:22 to play. Galax drew a penalty while stopping the two-point conversion and the Cougars capitalized on their second chance when Waddell bashed in to give Covington a 30-26 lead. Galax moved 35 yards to the Cougar 35 before quarterback Terrance Mazon was sacked on the game’s final play. Up until Covington’s final scoring drive, defensive takeaways set up most of the point-producing possessions on a soggy night in which the skies intermittently flip-flopped between an annoying mist and an outright downpour. Covington had no sooner fielded the opening kickoff before Galax had the first takeaway of the night, a Bryan Martin interception at the Cougar 21 three plays into the game. Martin returned the pick to the 11, and the Tide was on the board just three plays later as Mazon rolled left and found Juan Ruiz open in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown strike. The PAT was blocked and Galax led 6-0. Covington bounced back and was in the lead before the first quarter was over. Taking over at their own 25 following a Galax punt, the Cougars needed just four plays to find the end zone as Jeter hit Smith on a 46-yard gain to the Galax 25, and found Hall on the next play for a 25-yard touchdown play. Jeter’s two-poimt pass to Simmons put the Cougars ahead 8-6. Covington linebacker Chris Bowden picked up a Maroon Tide fumble and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown and a 16-6 lead just 2:11 before the half, but Galax hurried downfield and cut the lead to two just before intermission. Aided by a personal foul against Covington, the Maroon Tide drove 63 yards in just six plays before Deion George got into the open with a double move and was hit in stride by Mazon for a 35-yard touchdown just 12 seconds before the half. Mazon connected with Xavier Rodriguez on a two-point conversion pass for a 16-14 halftime score. George set up Galax’s go-ahead score when he intercepted Jeter at Galax’s 45 and returned it to the Covington 35 midway through the third period. A series of penalties turned a first-and-goal at the 9 into a fourth-and-27 at the 36, but a roughing the kicker penalty on a field goal attempt gave Galax new life, and the Tide took advantage. Mazon rolled to his left and was being brought down by Mikeal Lewis when he flipped a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Newman. The kick was blocked, but Galax led 20-16 at 3:44 of the third. Galax widened its lead to 10 points less than two minutes later when Simmons lost a fumble at the Covington 41. Jordan Vaughan gained 25 yards to the 16, and scored from 5 yards out three plays later. The two-point try was unsuccessful, but Galax headed into the fourth quarter with a 26-16 lead. Things began to go awry for the Tide four minutes into the final frame when a bad snap in punt formation gave Covington possession on the Galax 15. Simmons carried twice from there, including a 5-yard touchdown run that trimmed Galax’s lead to 26-22 with 7:41 to play. Covington outgained Galax 261-229, led by Jeter’s 7-for-14, 147-yard effort, including three completions to Smith for 66 yards. Simmons (14 carries, 67 yards) and Waddell (52 yards, 12 attempts) led the Cougar ground attack. Mazon was an effective 10-of-19 passing for 128 yards, hitting six different receivers. George had three catches for 61 yards and Ruiz caught two passes for 23 yards. Vaughan rushed 11 times for 52 tough yards on the ground. Galax travels to Bastian to face Bland County before returning home Nov. 6 to take on Narrows.   Covington    8  8   0  14––30 Galax            6  8  12  0––26

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First quarter Gal–Ruiz 7 pass from Mazon (kick blocked) 9:08 Cov–Hall 25 pass from Jeter (Simmons pass from Jeter) 2:11 Second quarter Cov–Bowden 15 fumble return (Laws run) 2:11 Gal–George 35 pass from Mazon (Rodriguez pass from Mazon) 0:12 Third quarter Gal–Newman 5 pass from Mazon (kick failed) 3:49 Gal–Vaughan 5 run (run failed) 1:51 Fourth quarter Cov–Simmons 5 run (pass failed) 7:41 Cov–Hall 8 pass from Jeter (Waddell run) 1:22 

                                        Cov    Gal First downs                 13    15 Rushes-yards         33-114    42-101 Yards passing             147    128 Comp-Att-Int         7-14-2    10-19-0 Return yards              116    92 Punts-average        3-31.3    4-32.5 Fumbles-lost              1-1    2-1 Penalties-yards        10-87    9-65

Individual statistics Rushing–Covington, Simmons 14-67, Waddell 12-52, Jeter 6-1, Smith 1-(-6). Galax, Vaughan 11-52, Rodriguez 11-34, Mazon 18-31, Newman 1-(-3), team 1-(-13). Passing–Covington, Jeter 7-14-2-147. Galax, Mazon 10-19-0-128. Receiving–Covington, Smith 3-66, Simmons 1-44, Hall 2-33, Waddell 1-4. Galax, George 3-61, Ruiz 2-23, Newman 2-17, Rodriguez 1-15, Martin 1-8, Vaughan 1-4.