Last season, a combination of injuries and inexperience left Covenant with plenty of lopsided losses while enduring a daunting schedule.
This year should be better, with many of those same players returning healthy, resilient, and more seasoned for a run at the school’s first TAPPS 11-man playoff berth.
(ABOVE: Like many of Covenant’s players, Ben Spangler has a valuable year of varsity experience. Photo: Chris McGathey)
“It was kind of a blessing in disguise,” said head coach Jesse Olvera. “They got out there and took some bumps and bruises.”
Realignment placed the Knights in a more favorable district alongside schools of more comparable size, although there are still some growing pains for the program. The participation numbers aren’t high enough to field any sub-varsity teams, and Covenant’s home field doesn’t yet have lights — forcing the Knights to play on Saturday afternoons.
After playing many underclassmen last season, the Knights are still young. Ben Spangler will lead the way, having started more than half of the games at quarterback as a freshman.
“You’re playing juniors and seniors on the other side,” said Olvera, beginning his third season at Covenant. “The game is so much faster, and you’re going to make mistakes. He’s going to get better, and his confidence has gotten a lot better.”
Cole Sellers returns at running back after being hampered by an ankle injury in 2017. He’s part of a small senior class that includes receiver Alec Scully, linebacker Jack Spangler, and safety Wes Bender.
“They’re going through all this adversity, but they never waver,” Olvera said. “They play at 100 percent the whole time. They really motivate the younger kids.”