Ben Webb hobbled near the sideline early in the fourth quarter of Southwest Covenant’s state championship game with visible discomfort. He was hurt.
The quarterback was favoring his left leg with cramps in his right. The next play he throws a pass high to Will Haas. The receiver came down after being clocked by a Tipton defender.
Haas was down for a considerable amount of time before he came to the sideline and didn’t return. The Patriots were forced to finish out a tight ball game without their best receiver and a limited playmaker in the pocket.
Southwest Covenant eventually fell in the game 50-34. Injuries played a part in the loss, but coach Trey Cloud said his team wasn’t going to blame it on that.
“(Injuries played a factor),” he said. “But no excuses. That’s the thing, it was hard to run some offense, I didn’t know what to run because a lot of my guys are out. But, no excuses.”
Cloud was reminded of a saying his father frequented in situations such as this.
“If ifs and buts are candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas.”
The game began with both teams making surprising defensive stops at every turn.
The Patriots and the Tigers took turns fumbling the ball to each other until Tipton threw an interception to Tyler Kelly.
Covenant got on the scoreboard first thanks to the pick. Ben Webb ran the ball in for a short yardage TD. The Logan Glass point-after-touchdown was successful, making for a 7-0 Tipton disadvantage.
Tipton quickly answered on a TD with a failed two-point conversion. The end of the first period read a score of 7-6.
It didn’t take long in the second quarter for the offensive tides to turn.
Tipton took their first lead of the night with a score on the first play of the second period. The two-point conversion was again not successful, making a 12-7 score.
The Patriots scored two more touchdowns unanswered to reclaim their lead.
Southwest Covenant led 20-12 with 37 seconds remaining in the first half. An onside kick gave Tipton prime scoring position with which they took advantage. The Tigers tied the game heading into halftime on a TD and their first successful two-point conversion.
A Tyler Kelly 15-yard run gave Southwest Covenant a 26-20 advantage but it was matched by a Tipton TD paired with a two-point conversion. The Tigers led by two at the end of the third.
The injury bug struck early in the fourth but that didn’t stop the Patriots from scoring Tyler Kelly gave Covenant their last lead of the night (34-28) with 9:20 remaining in the game.
The Patriots ran out of gas from there and the Tigers took over, scoring three touchdowns and sealing their victory.
“They did well. We did well,” Cloud said. “The scoreboard didn’t come out how you wanted but that happens sometimes. That’s life.”
Southwest Covenant finished the game with 568 total yards of offense to Tipton’s 551. Webb went 25 for 41 through the air with 252 passing yards. Trevor Kelly led the Patriots in rushing yards with 152.
An historic year for Patriot football ended in their first defeat of the season. After the game, Coach Cloud reminded his players what they play for.
“I just told them I was proud of them, I loved them,” he said. “I said wins and losses don’t matter, brotherhood with these guys does. That’s the number one thing.
“I told them, come back for more. It should leave a bad taste in your mouth, motivation for next year.”