25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

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25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby granger » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:21 pm

BY LEMAN SAUNDERS

If you pull up a list of all the six-man state champions, you will notice quite often there is a pattern of teams advancing to the title game in consecutive season. In fact, the pattern held pretty true from 1973 on through 1995, save for one year, 1987. That state title game match-up of Lohn vs Wellman seems to stick out like a sore thumb amongst the usual title contenders. I doubt there are many players or coaches today in six-man that know the Lohn Eagles won a state championship. Well they did, and now I will try to shed some light on their season.

This was the very first year Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine featured a pre-season top 10 ranking for six-man football and it was no surprise that Fort Hancock entered the 1987 season as the top-ranked team, as they returned most of their team from the ‘86 championship team. Lohn entered the season ranked 4th and picked 2nd in their district behind third-ranked Christoval. Lohn, in fact, would make the playoffs as the District 7 runner-up to Christoval, after losing their match-up, 52-14, in district play.

Lohn had restarted their football program in 1984, playing only a handful of games in ‘84 and ’85 before joining the official UIL ranks for the first time since 1965, in 1986.

Lohn had a solid core group of players; quarterback Chris Womack, running back Chris Short, and end Robby Moore, to name a few. But leading the Eagles charge was their junior running back William Covington. In 1986, Lohn had a good season, defeating state-ranked Harper in district play to win the runner-up spot behind Christoval and winning Bi-District against Iredell, before falling to Rochester in the quarterfinals (2nd round). Covington rushed for 1,638 yards and 37 touchdowns that season earning an all-state honorable mention at running back as a sophomore.

Lohn’s playoff path to the title game was not an easy one for them. In their Bi-district game with Bynum, Lohn was leading 48-42 with 2:50 left in the game. Bynum had the ball and was threatening. Facing a 4th-and-5 in Lohn territory, Bynum gained about 4 ¾ yards, turning the ball over to allow Lohn to run out the clock. The game featured a total of 28 penalties for 250 yards combined for both teams.

In their quarterfinal game against Benjamin, Lohn squeaked out another nail-biter, winning 48-40.

In the semifinals, the Eagles found themselves in a rematch with district foe Christoval. In the first matchup Covington missed almost the entire game with an injury suffered in the first quarter, however he was healthy for this meeting and Lohn had vengeance on their mind. In what might have been the biggest upset of the season, Lohn avenged their mercy rule defeat from district play, winning 38-32. The Eagles held Christoval to just eight first downs, while Covington rushed for 227 yards on 34 carries and all five of their touchdowns in the win. After the game he told shocked reporters, “It didn’t really shock, shock me because I knew we could do it”, a confidence that would spill over into the state title game.

The State Championship Game – Friday December 11th 8:00pm in Snyder
The mojo for Lohn was just too good for them not to win it all after the Cinderella playoff run. Their star, of course, was their junior running back William Covington.

Lohn (11-1) would face off with Wellman, who was 11-3 heading into the game. Wellman just snuck into the playoffs, finishing in a three-way tie for 1st in the District 4 West Zone with Sands and Loop. Wellman and Sands proved the lucky two, making the playoffs via coin flips. The Wildcats beat Trent in the zone playoff, 62-20, outscored Balmorhea, 80-42, in Bi-District, crushed Silverton, 58-8, in the quarterfinals and finished off a tough Jayton team 62-28 in the semifinals.

Wellman suffered a big loss in their semifinal win over Jayton, as their top offensive threat and leading rusher (2,588 yards 38 TDs in 14 games) J Rowden suffered an ankle injury that would force him to miss the state title game against Lohn.

Lohn struck first on a 47-yard run by Covington only 50 seconds into the game, as he broke at least three or four tackles on his way to the end zone. The Eagles struck again only a minute later, capitalizing off a Wildcat turnover, with Covington scoring on a one-yard plunge. After a Wellman touchdown, Covington scored his third rushing touchdown of the first quarter, giving Lohn a 22-8 lead. The Eagles continued to force turnovers and play solid defense. Wellman scraped out two more touchdowns, but still trailed at the half, 36-22, when Covington and Chris Short rushed for two more touchdowns for Lohn. Covington rushed for 179 yards with four touchdowns on just 15 carries in the first half.

The second half was more of the same solid defense from Lohn, forcing Wellman turnovers and a steady dose of William Covington. But this half, Chris Short scored two more touchdowns for the Eagles, one the only score of the third quarter on an eight-yard run and another for the last score of the game on a 43-yard pass from who else, but Covington. The final score 58-30.

The game was a sloppy one for Wellman, who committed nine turnovers: five interceptions and four fumbles lost. Lohn, by contrast, only had two interceptions. In addition to all the turnovers, there were a total of 15 penalties for 122 yards and three punts in this game (two by Lohn). Lohn outrushed Wellman 310-213 and barely out-gained them 417-362. Covington finished the game with 242 yards, five touchdowns on 27. He also completed one pass for a 43-yard touchdown. Lohn QB Chris Womack was 6-of-12 passing for 64 yards and 5-of-8 kicking PATs. Chris Short scored two touchdowns rushing and caught two passes for 51 yards and a touchdown.

*Notes*
-There were 80 teams divided up into 8 districts in six-man in 1987. Four of the districts were divided into zones, including Wellman’s.
-Of those 80 schools: 8 have since closed or consolidated (Three Way, McCaulley, Goree, Rochester, Weinert, Carbon, Novice, Star); 5 have moved up in classification (Smyer, Fort Hancock, Tornillo, Christoval, Harper) and 2 are open but with without football (Texline, Marathon)
-Mike Lee was a reporter at The San Angelo standard Times and wrote several great article detailing Lohn’s rise to the top in 1987…he has been one of the best reporters covering the six-man game, their schools and communities and he is still writing today as a freelance writer for the San Angelo, Abilene, Brownwood and Goldthwaite newspapers.
-Stats used for this were from the San Angelo Standard Times game reports. Camille Wheeler was the staff reporter covering both the Semi-Final and State games.
-William Covington rushed for 2,007 yards and 45 touchdowns in 1987. After high school he went on to play college football and even Arena football as a wide receiver.
- One of Wellman’s main offensive and defensive threats was Tony Timmons. By chance, a few years back, I was sitting in the press box at a state championship game and noticed a man with a UIL badge named Tony Timmons. I asked him if he happened to be the same Tony Timmons who played football at Wellman and lost to Lohn in the state game. He confirmed that he was the same Tony Timmons and went on to explain to me, in a slightly biter tone, that Williman Covington was impossible to tackle because he had Crisco all over his uniform. True or not it makes for a good story…and explains why Covington broke four tackles on his opening touchdown run in the state game…but so would poor tackling on Wellman’s part.

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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Coach A » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:18 pm

Another great article Leman. I have a personal connection with this particular state championship game. Yes I’m the Lohn Head Football Coach but my parents and I attended the Lohn Eagle playoff games in 1987 including the state game when I was in Jr High at a newly consolidated school...Panther Creek. Robbie Moore is my cousin and his father Dickey Moore was the assistant coach/DC. I also remember Welman had quite the pregame entrance as they played the Top Gun theme song “Highway to the Danger Zone” when the Welman captains walked on the field. The rest of the details are a little fuzzy over time but Cuvington was a beast in that game. I do remember slapping Cuvington on the shoulder pads telling him good game. I do not recall having “crisco” on my hand afterward. Lol
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Rcblank85 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:27 pm

DCTFM included sixman for first time in 1984. Ranked #1 was May. I still have a copy of the magazine...
That's a good story. It's cool to read about the teams and how it all came together for them.
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Leman Saunders » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:48 pm

You are correct! 1984 Dave Campbell's did rank a preseason top 10! Dont know how that slipped pass me but thank you for the correction!
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Leman Saunders » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:03 am

It is interesting they did a top 10 in 1984 and then didnt in 1985 and 1986...then started up again in 1987 and have done rankings for six-man ever since
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Rcblank85 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:33 am

I did not know that..
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Rcblank85 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:34 am

Maybe they thought they needed more research after ranking us number one and us losing the state game lol
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby SixmanInfoFirst » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:13 am

I can confirm that Covington did in fact have some type of oil on his jersey!
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby granger » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:32 am

SixmanInfoFirst wrote:I can confirm that Covington did in fact have some type of oil on his jersey!


need details. come on, you can't just throw that out there... tell us more... sounds like a great story

inquiring minds want to know
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Blue Bird » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:51 pm

I can just see all in my mind, the real reason for all of the turnovers in this game. After attempting to tackle Covington with his "oiled" jersey, Wellman's players had residue on their arms and hands. Then they contacted the ball and it became the "greased pigskin". This game was played in Snyder, it should have been dubbed the oil bowl!!
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby TebowTime15 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:15 pm

This story made me laugh out loud. I graduated from Lohn in 2008, but my parents and I moved to Abilene at the end of my freshman year and all of my sophomore year. While in Abilene, I went to Abilene Wylie for about half of that time.

Anyways, this kid at Wylie faked like he sneezed as an excuse to spill water on my food. I probably wouldn't have minded that much, but the lunches at Wylie were a ton of money. Instead of punching him, I decided to pour milk on his leather jacket that he wore so proudly. Obviously, I got sent to the principals office.

I cannot remember that principals name for the life of me, but he went to school at Wellman and played on the 87 team that lost to Lohn. We spent some time talking about this game, and he he told me some of the things that Wellman people told Leman about this game.

If I were on equal footing with that principal then, I would have told him what about to tell everyone on this site: as my great-grandmother used to say "excuses are like buttholes, we all have them and they all stink." You do realize it is absurd and borderline insulting to say that William Covington put Crisco on his jersey? Besides, it wouldn't matter what he put on his jersey if Wellman would tackle correctly.
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Leman Saunders » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:46 am

I was made aware that in fact Covington might have played WR in the CFL and not Arena ball like I stated in the notes. He played for the Shreveport Pirates in 1995. I believe he played football at Troy State as well in college.

Thanks to a reader for setting me straight! The best part about doing these topics is the peer reviews!

http://www.cflapedia.com/Players/c/covington_wil.htm
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Leman Saunders » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:48 am

PS: If anyone knows Mr. Covington I'd love to talk with him about the good'ol days at Lohn

Would make for a great "where are they now" segment to this
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Re: 25 Days of Champions -- 1987 Lohn

Postby Leman Saunders » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:40 pm

Mike Lee wrote a new piece on the 1987 Lohn team for the Standard Times

http://www.gosanangelo.com/story/sports ... 951965001/
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