Griffins come one yard short against Covington

Kyle Riviere
Dutchtown defensive lineman Briant Parker pursues Covington quarterback Justin Alfaro in the Griffins' 40-34 loss. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

One of the greatest finishes in Super Bowl history took place in Super Bowl XXXIV, when Titans' receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled by the Rams' Mike Jones just one yard short of scoring the game-tying touchdown on the final play of the game.

The same scenario played out at the end of Dutchtown's home opener against 11th-ranked Covington on Friday night. Unfortunately for the Griffins, things ended for them the same way they did for the Titans back in 1999.

After battling back from 14 down in the fourth quarter, Noah Gray was tackled just one yard short of the end zone as time expired. If he had scored, Dutchtown could have won the game with the extra point.

"I was really proud of our guys," Griffin first-year head coach Guy Mistretta said. "I just told them that I don't care if we would have scored on the last play and made the extra point, I would be no more proud than I am right now. It gives you excitement about next week and going back to work."

Dutchtown came into the game with confidence after rolling past Central, 27-0, for their first victory last week.

The Griffins took a 3-0 lead early, before the Lions answered with a 43-yard touchdown connection between Justin Alfaro and Kejohn Batiste late in the first quarter.

On the Griffins' next drive, they spanned 65 yards in six plays and went ahead, 10-7, with a one-yard quarterback sneak by Ben Mays.

After falling behind, 14-10, Cohen Parent added a 29-yard field goal.

Right before the break, there was an errant snap on a Covington punt. Alfaro recovered it, but it set the Griffins up with the ball at the Lion 44-yard line.

Just four plays later, Brock Beaman streaked up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown run to put Dutchtown up, 20-14, at the half.

The third quarter belonged to Covington.

The Griffins had three drives that amounted to nine plays for zero yards and zero first downs.

The Lions had three drives that resulted in three touchdowns.

Their first came on a six-yard touchdown run by Devin Brumfield, Alfaro scored on a 10-yard option-keeper, and when Alfaro threw a 58-yard scoring strike, Covington took a comfortable 34-20 lead with just a minute left in the third quarter.

But Dutchtown never quit fighting.

With just under five minutes remaining in the game, they pulled within 7 points as Mays hit Gray for a nine-yard score.

The Griffins then recovered the ensuing onside kick and took over at the Covington 44-yard line.

After converting a fourth-and-one, Mays hit tight end Brandon Davies--who broke a tackle and scored from 20 yards out to tie the game with just 2:08 remaining.

The Lions answered almost immediately.

On their ensuing drive, Alfaro hit Batiste for a 75-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good, so they led, 40-34, with just 1:28 remaining in the game.

Dutchtown took the ball at their own 26-yard line and quickly moved downfield. They converted two fourth downs along the way. Finally, they had the ball at the Lion 20 with just two seconds remaining.

Mays hit Gray on a streak over the middle, but he was brought down at the 1-yard line, less than 40 inches away from a possible game-winning touchdown.

Dutchtown had no answers for the big three of Alfaro, Batiste and Brumfield.

Alfaro had 312 yards passing with four touchdowns and an additional 98 yards rushing and a score on the ground. Batiste was his favorite target as he made eight grabs for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Brumfield piled up 185 yards and a score on 20 carries.

"Covington is so big offensively--the line, the running backs, the quarterback, everybody," Mistretta said. "They're so big, they wear on you. I thought our defense really showed that in that third quarter, but my gosh, the offense kept fighting. It was, by far, their best performance of the year."

Dutchtown had 416 total yards.

Mays passed for 215 yards and two scores, while running for 69 yards and a touchdown.

His two favorite targets were Gray and Davies--who had 88 and 95 yards, respectively, with a touchdown apiece.

Beaman rushed for 129 yards and two scores on just 14 carries.

After blowing Central out last week and going toe-to-toe with No. 11 Covington on Friday night, Coach Mistretta likes the progression of his team.

"The last game really gave them confidence," Mistretta said. "They've been doing everything that we've asked. They've been extremely receptive. All the work they've been doing, the faith they've had to do what we ask, it finally paid off last week. I definitely think that confidence carried over, and I'd expect more next week."