Covington cross country runner Klay Howard earned the silver medal at the state cross country meet last week. Howard’s time of 16.00.07 earned him the spot.
Last year, he was fourth place at state. Gerardo Cipres, a three-time state qualifier, finished 22nd with a time of 17:35.36.
“I cannot express enough how extremely proud I am of these two young men and how proud I am of our all our Covington cross country runners,” said coach Juaquin Rodriguez.
Injuries derail Wildcats vs. Eustace
The Eustace Bulldogs (6-3, 3-3) took the field at Wildcat Stadium with a combination of bark and bite, bruising the Wildcats (5-4, 2-4) with a decisive 53-19 victory Friday night.
With both teams playing for a potential shot at the playoffs, Whitney came out firing and built a first-quarter lead with two touchdowns. But following a returned extra point that put the score at 13-9, Lady Luck seemed to side with the Bulldogs on what was Senior Night for Whitney.
Behind the zig-zagging running skills of quarterback Alejandro Sanchez, the Bulldogs barreled to two touchdowns and a field goal in the second quarter that resulted in a 26-13 halftime lead.
The calls and the momentum then stayed on the Eustace sidelines as they added 27 points in the second half while the Wildcats fought tooth-and-nail to salvage the season.
Once again, injuries plagued the Wildcats’ effort. Head Coach Kenneth Gilchrist noted that eight starters from the beginning of the season had to watch from the sidelines. Against Eustace, Whitney lost starting senior receiver/safety Gage Hightower in first quarter.
“It’s really frustrating,” Gilchrist said. “In all my years of coaching, I’ve never seen injuries take such a toll on a team. But our kids are always going to keep fighting. I told them after the game, this season has been so challenging both mentally and physically with all the tragedies and injuries, but every week we have someone step up and I’m proud of that.”
On Friday, a handful of underclassmen did their part to help their senior teammates fight throughout the game. Sophomores Devin Wilson and Dez Garner each eclipsed 100 yards rushing and had first quarter scores, while Kolby Tanner filled in for Hightower in the secondary and grabbed an interception in the second half.
Tanner also had a receiving touchdown at the start of the third quarter that pulled the Wildcats within seven points, and fellow sophomore Juan Saucedo had a deflected pass and 15 tackles.
But Whitney’s seniors also stood tall with solid efforts from the likes of Ryan Hilty, Sam Shorts, Dantay Owens and Hunter Watson.
“As an athletic director, I couldn’t be more proud of these seniors,” Gilchrist said.
“Since 7th grade, they have shown the work ethic to get better each year. They are blue-collar guys that come to work every day, and I know they will be successful in the future because I’ve seen how they have developed as men and athletes.”
The Wildcats have one last shot to close the season out with a victory as they travel to Groesbeck this Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Goats sit at 3-3 in district, and Gilchrist said the team will pressure the Wildcats’ offensive attack. To have a chance at the post season, Whitney will need to defeat Groesbeck by 17 points and have West defeat Eustace.
That scenario would then force a coin flip for the fourth and final playoff slot in District 9-3A.
JV Wildcats lose 20-19 to Eustace
The junior varsity Whitney Wildcats took on the Eustace Bulldogs Thursday, November 6. Whitney fought hard but lost a close 20-19 game in the end.
The offensive player of the game was Peyton Eubank. Eubank led a 97-yard scoring drive with two and a half minutes left. He also connected with multiple receivers down the field.
The coaching staff recognized the entire defense as the “defensive player of the game.”
“The Wildcat defense made a lot of key stops in crucial parts of the game,” said Coach Randy Loggins. “They also didn’t give up any points in the second half.”
The special teams player of the game was Luca Urso, according to Loggins. He connected on two of his extra point attempts.