The road to Chattanooga for TSSAA BlueCross Bowl berths was open for both Covington and MASE, but the Chargers and the Phoenix fell short of their respective goals on Friday night.
In Class 3A, Covington dropped a 41-15 decision to visiting East Nashville, while MASE lost 34-0 to McKenzie in a Class 1A semifinal played at Melrose.
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“They did a good job defending us,” Covington coach JR Kirby said. “We missed some opportunities. East Nashville’s a good team. We just couldn’t ever get a stop when we needed to. And we couldn’t put some consistent drives together.”
Doing his part was senior Jamarion Dowell, who accounted for both Charger touchdowns. According to Kirby, Dowell is second on the Covington all-time rushing list and third in touchdowns scored.
“I can’t say enough about that kid,” said Kirby. “He had a great career here and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. I’m anxious to see where he’s going to land on the next level.”
Junior Azarion Harris carried the ball 22 times for 113 yards for the Chargers, who finished the season 11-3.
“I hurt for my kids and our staff,” Kirby said. “We lost the opening game to Munford. A lot of people wrote us off; didn’t think we were going to be very good this year. And I thought our kids just came in and went to work. To get from that point until now is a great accomplishment. We wish we could be going to Chattanooga, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
MASE, meanwhile, wrapped up its season at 13-1.
“We didn’t play up to our potential.” Phoenix coach Cedric Miller said. “I’ve got to give McKenzie credit. They played fundamental, sound, disciplined football. They disrupted a lot of stuff that we liked to do.”
McKenzie quarterback Jackson Cassidy scored multiple touchdowns.
“On the offensive side of the ball, No. 11 is a helluva ball player,” said Miller. “He hurt us tonight. We just didn’t tackle well. Missed a lot of tackles.”
MASE enjoyed a perfect regular season behind Region 8-1A Offensive Player of the Year Kumaro Brown and Defensive Player of the Year Lance Taylor Jr.
“I told my kids that they still had a great year, set a lot of records,” Miller said. “The school only won three games last year, so to turn that around to 13 wins, it says a lot about what we’re building over here at MASE.”
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: TSSAA football playoffs: Covington, MASE conclude season in semifinals