Demons host Covington in season opener

Published 7:33 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Franklinton opens the 2016 regular season tonight by hosting Covington in a battle of two teams that regularly qualify for the playoffs.

FHS has been to the Class 4A state semifinals the last two years and the quarterfinals the year before. Covington reached the first round of the Class 5A postseason last year and the second round the year before. In 2013, the Lions were just a point away from going to the state finals.

The Demons come into tonight’s game after falling to John Curtis, 35-14, in the Mandeville Jamboree last week.

Franklinton first-year coach Stephen Burris said the Demons are looking to improve in a number of different areas.

“We’re young in certain areas — first time on the field,” Burris said. “Covington has a stud running back and a good quarterback. If he’s throwing, we need to put pressure on him. We can’t give up the big play. If we allow a 10-yard pass and we make the tackle, we live to fight another down, but we can’t give up those 60- and 70-yard plays and big runs.

“We’ve got to get off the field on third and fourth down. We’re replacing five very good defensive players. The young guys are coming along, but they’re not there yet.”

Burris said that free safety Marcus Conerly has been Franklinton’s best defender so far.

He said practice has been pretty good and that the team is getting better each day.

“We’ve got kids that are young and need time to develop and make crisper reads,” Burris said. “We’ve made the game plan solid offensively and defensively. We just need to execute. Tahj (Magee) and Dijimon (Jenkins) have been good players everyday. You can’t complain about them, but we’ve got to get other people with them playing at the same level.”

Last week, Magee ran for 112 yards and a touchdown and threw for 87 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Last season, Magee threw for 1,465 yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions while running for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Jenkins caught three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown last week. The touchdown was a 61-yard reception. Last year, he had 18 catches for 246 yards and three scores.

Trequan Charles ran for 33 yards last week.

The teams played year and Covington won that game, 14-6.

Covington enters this week after defeating Lakeshore, 33-14, in the Covington Jamboree.

“One thing we knew coming into the year, we lost a lot of seniors, but the positions we did get back were key spots,” Covington coach Greg Salter said. “We got five of our six skill players back from last year’s team and four of those guys were only sophomores last year.

“We’re still young, but they’ve got a ton of experience. That’s something offensively that we hope can carry us. Defensively, we have a couple of good linemen back and we’ve got two safeties back.”

Joshua Alfaro, who started at quarterback the final five games last year and went 4-1, returns as the team’s signal caller. In the only loss the Lions had with him at quarterback (in the playoffs against St. Amant), he threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior running back Devin Brumfield has been stellar in his first two years of high school. The two-year starter has more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns rushing. Last season, he ran for 1,760 yards and 18 scores.

“The best thing about him is that he’s a better person than he is player,” Salter said. “You see how special he is on the field, but in three years, he hasn’t missed a practice. Our guys rally around that.”

The wide receivers are Alonjai Earlycutt, KeJohn Batiste, Mason Cialona and Milton Clark.

Clark, who had more than 100 yards on three receptions and three touchdowns last week, is the only new starter of the group. He also had a 40-yard catch called back on a penalty.

The top defenders are linemen Liam Vinciforia and Anthony Ford, along with safeties Zach Day and Thomas Jeansonne. Vinciforia had seven sacks and more than 40 tackles last year. Ford had 14 sacks last year while Day had several big hits last week and Jeansonne picked off a pass.