NARROWS, Va. — Neither Narrows nor Covington was pleased with how the first half went Friday night. But on the whole, everything ended in accord with the Green Wave’s liking.
Narrows made the correct adjustments at halftime on offense and defense to break a 14-14 tie and went on to win 42-14 in a Pioneer District game at Harry Ragsdale Field.
“We were seeing what they were trying to do and we made just a couple adjustments at halftime and our kids came out and played exceptional in the second half,” Narrows head football coach Kelly Lowe said.
The Green Wave are 6-0 for the first time since the late 1970s and everything worked in the second half. The offense started to click on all gears and the defense had three takeaways after the break.
“Our defense really came out and wanted to make a statement, wanted to prove something tonight and I think they played pretty daggone well,” Lowe said.
Narrows quarterback Chase Blaker started the second half with a 16-yard scamper before hitting Dustin Wiley with a 22-yard pass. One play later the Green Wave found the endzone when Cole Needham was open down the middle for a 46-yard touchdown reception.
Blaker had 73 yards combined rushing and passing the ball in the first half before exploding in the second half to end with 223 yards throwing and 86 rushing.
“He’s a weapon for us, when you’ve got a quarterback that’s a dual-threat like that know you’re playing 11-on-11 defense and that puts teams in a bind and he’s doing a phenomenal job for us,” Lowe said.
The Narrows (6-0, 1-0 Pioneer) defense forced a quick punt from Covington (2-4, 0-1 Pioneer) after the touchdown and the offense was assisted by a facemask penalty to propel the drive.
On a third-and-18 the Green Wave coaches called for a screen pass and it was executed to perfection. The defense overcommitted on Chase Blaker and Matthew Morgan was wide open with plenty of blocker next to him.
He burst through the defense for a 53-yard touchdown reception.
“Matthew Morgan made a phenomenal run on a screen pass there in the third quarter,” Lowe said.
The Narrows defense was stifling in the second half and set the offense up in a great position when Dustin Wiley recovered a fumble late in the third. He was rewarded when Chase Blaker found his for a 30-yard touchdown reception less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
“It’s awesome, he’s the best receiver and he does his best and I’m glad to have him,” Chase Blaker said.
Wiley finished with 99 yards receiving along with an interception in the first half and the fumble.
Covington had 60 yards of offense in the second half as its top two running backs were stifled.
“If we took those two away then they were going to do something they weren’t used to doing and that was our goal,” Lowe said.
Shaun Smith had 124 yards rushing in the first half with only 14 in the third quarter before exiting with an injury while Skyler Barnett had five carries for three yards.
Morgan picked off a pass just after the Green Wave scored at the start of the fourth quarter and with under a minute left in the game Logan Conley fell on a fumble.
A nine-play drive from Covington to start the game ended in the endzone when Simon Gibson found Skyler Barnett from 15 yards out. It came on a fourth-and-four while being the first pass of the game for the Cougars.
Narrows responded on its first drive of the game with a nine-yard touchdown run from Chad Blaker.
He would give the Green Wave the lead with three minutes left in the second quarter on an 11-yard run. The play before Chase Blaker had found Wiley with a 29-yard pass on third-and-15.
Helped by a 32-yard run from Shaun Smith Covington marched down the field and Smith punched it in from three yards out. The Cougars had thrown an incomplete pass on third-and-goal but the Green Wave committed pass interference in the end zone.
Both teams struggled with penalties in the first half as there were 13 combined and most of the on the offense.
The Covington defense would let Narrows get the short passes but not allow anything of enough yardage for a first down.
“We can’t play behind the chains, we’ve always got to play in front of the chains and we’ve got to keep moving up the field,” Lowe said.
The Green Wave defense came up big in the second quarter when they stopped the Cougars on a fourth-and-three when Needham sacked Gibson.
In the fourth quarter Chase Blaker was gashing the Cougars defense taking advantage of the gaps that the offensive line was creating for him.
“I give all to the big men up front, they’re the ones giving me the holes and I just run where I see,” Chase Blaker said.
He scored from six yards out with just under four minutes left in the game to wrap up the scoring.
Narrows remains at home next week when it hosts Eastern Montgomery in its second district game. Covington plays at Parry McCluer.