FORT MITCHELL, Ky. -- They didn’t hit the field for warm ups until 12 minutes before kickoff Friday night, but it was better late than never for Covington Catholic, as the Colonels overcame a quick Beechwood start, and knocked off the archrival Tigers 41-21 before an overflow crowd at Edgar McNabb Field.
“It was a kind of long time coming, but we’ve had a tough schedule. It was good for the guys to get this,” said Colonels’ first year head coach Eddie Eviston, earning his first win at CovCath (1-4). “We have a new staff, everything is new, going through the summer, and now through several games, we’re slowly starting to get there, and we’re executing better.”
Beechwood (3-1), playing its home opener, jumped out to a quick lead when Ethan Stringer outran the defense from 37 yards out to make it 7-0 with 10:25 left in the first quarter.
But the Colonels then seized control of the game.
On their first drive, capping an 11-play, 75-yard drive when senior running back Ryan McGinness took it in from the 4 to tie the score with 5:32 left in the opening quarter.
“They’re (Beechwood) a good football team. They’ve got some great football players, and a lot who can break big plays as we saw tonight,” Eviston said. “But we got some stops, and starting executing, and got rolling.”
In the second quarter, the Colonels scored 21 unanswered by dominating on both sides of the line. Junior running back Henry Toebbe, sophomore running back Grant Dyer, and junior Alex Shelton all scored touchdowns to put the Colonels up 28-7 near the end of the first half.
Defensively, the Colonels front harassed Tigers’ senior quarterback Kyle Fieger all night, sacking him three times and forcing numerous hurries and scrambles.
CovCath had a huge goal line stand right before halftime, when Fieger’s pass in the end zone to senior wide receive Brett Slusher on 4th-and-goal from the 2 was ruled incomplete, and Colonels held their 21-point lead at the break.
Beechwood had a promising start in the third quarter, stopping the Colonels on fourth down on defense, and then moving the ball to the Colonels’ 34 thanks to running of Slusher and Stringer, and a roughing the passer penalty on CovCath.
But the Colonels' defense stiffened, forcing a 4th-and-long, and Slusher came up short on a run out of punt formation to give the ball back to the Colonels.
Fortune smiled on the Colonels as they put the game out of reach. McGinness capped an eight-play, 72-yard drive when he caught a pass that was tipped in the air by a Tigers’ safety. He then took it into the end zone from 38 yards out to make it 34-7 with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
Beechwood kept battling and closed the gap to two scores behind two touchdown passes from Fieger to junior running back Aiden Justice. Dyer capped off the scoring when he plowed in from the 1 with 3:23 left in the game.
The Colonels ran for 326 yards on 44 carries. Dyer led the CovCath rushing attack with 102 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns, while McGinness and sophomore quarterback A.J. Mayer both ran for 83 yards. Mayer was 8 of 13 for 91 yards through the air with a touchdown. McGinness added 50 yards receiving and the touchdown.
Josh Galvin, Kameron Butler, and Brody Thorson all recorded sacks on the night for the Colonels.
went 17-of-32 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Justice had 80 yards on five catches and two touchdowns, while Slusher went for 66 yards on six receptions. Stringer had 68 yards on 13 carries, but only had 24 yards after the Tigers’ first drive. Beechwood ended the night with 327 total yards of offense.
Beechwood, in the midst of a six out of seven stretch at home (they opened the year with three road games), will host Covington Holy Cross next Friday. CovCath returns to Wooten Field for the first time in over a month when the Colonels host Columbus St. Francis De Sales on Saturday.
CovCath 7 21 6 7-41
Beechwood 7 0 7 7-21
BWD: Ethan Stringer 37 run (Daniel Mescher kick)
CCH: Ryan McGinness 4 run (Matthew Kloska kick)
CCH: Henry Toebbe 10 run (Kloska kick)
CCH: Grant Dyer 1 run (Kloska kick)
CCH: Alex Shelton 2 yd Rush (Kloska kick)
CCH: Ryan McGinness 41 pass from AJ Mayer (kick blocked)
BWD: Aiden Justice 17 pass from Kyle Fieger (Mescher kick)
BWD: Justice 36 pass from Fieger (Mescher kick)
CCH: Dyer 1 run (Kloska kick)