Long Reach quarterback Trent Covington felt he had the weight of the world on his shoulders after the Lightning's passing game failed miserably last week.
That weight was lifted yesterday.
Covington completed 10 of 14 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more touchdowns in a 39-14, league-opening victory over Mount Hebron at Long Reach.
"I worked all week on keeping my shoulder down and on reading coverage," the junior said. "Last week, I saw some college coaches in the stands and I choked."
Covington still was not completely satisfied with his effort. "We were in the red zone three times in the first half that we didn't score," he said.
No. 11-ranked Long Reach (2-0 overall, 1-0 league), which avenged a one-point homecoming loss to the Vikings a year ago, found that its major weapon against Mount Hebron (1-1, 0-1) was the screen pass.
"Their [the Vikings] ends flew in too fast, so the screen was there, and we were definitely clicking as a team today," Covington said. "My line was giving me so much time."
Offensive and defensive tackles Ryan Pope and Justin Pruitt gave Mount Hebron headaches.
"They never let us establish anything all day," Vikings coach Larry Luthe said. "They just beat us on the line. They got in on our quarterback. The only thing that makes me feel better is that they did the same thing to Westminster last week."
Mount Hebron went with man-to-man coverage in its secondary on the opening Long Reach drive to make the Lightning prove it could pass.
Covington connected with tight end Terrell Blackwell on passes of 29 and 15 yards on a 68-yard, nine-play drive that ended with Covington scoring from 1 yard.
Blackwell caught three passes for 66 yards; running back Jereme Scott caught three passes for 44 yards and rushed 18 times for 91 yards; and Davon Gilmore ran 14 times for 90 yards.
Poor punting hurt Mount Hebron.
A 16-yard Vikings punt gave Long Reach fine position at Mount Hebron's 20, and Covington scored from the 5 on the last play of the first quarter.
A 15-yard punt gave the Lightning possession at Mount Hebron's 29, and Gilmore scored on an 11-yard run for a 19-0 lead.
Travis Ebb ran 45 yards for a Vikings touchdown as they closed the gap to 19-7 at halftime.
A punt for minus-1 yard gave Long Reach possession at Mount Hebron's 36 and Scott scored on a 1-yard run for a 27-7 lead in the third quarter.
An 18-yard Vikings punt set up Long Reach at its 40-yard line, and the Lightning eventually scored on a 21-yard pass from Covington to Brandon Goff to make it 33-7.
Anthony Rogers, Long Reach's tailback who ran for 110 yards last week, is out for the rest of the season for violating county policy.