After losing just 2 seniors, Covenant has high hopes in tough district
After enduring a bumpy ride with a young roster in 2021, Covenant hopes its path to success will be smoother during the upcoming football season.
Despite the inexperience and a slow start, the Knights won five of their last seven games and returned to the TAPPS playoffs.
So, the foundation is solid for a team that lost only two seniors to graduation and returns nine starters on both sides of scrimmage.
“We took our lumps with those guys having to play such a significant role,” Covenant head coach Jacob Zinn said. “We got a lot of experience that we wouldn’t have gotten any other way.”
Mark Spangler became the starting quarterback last year almost by default, and he responded with almost 2,300 all-purpose yards and 27 touchdowns — 16 rushing and 11 passing.
“He really grew during the season,” Zinn said. “We’re expecting him to pick up where he left off. Mark is a phenomenal athlete. If he plays more consistently, I think it’s going to be really hard for defenses. We’re going to be able to score a lot of points.”
Now a senior, Spangler’s season will bring to a close a quarterback legacy at Covenant that included older brothers Jack and Ben.
Many of the top players for Covenant will see action on both offense and defense. Sack specialist Dobson Beaird will anchor the defensive line, and hard-hitting linebacker James Predtechenskis is one of the leading tacklers in program history.
Other key returnees at multiple positions include Andrew Pattison, Reed Graham, Bennett Sands, Brady Shahan, and sophomore Benji Golik.
Roster stability should enable Covenant to contend in a more challenging district with perennial power Dallas Christian, which drops to Division III after winning a Division II title last year.
“We’re going to continue to have high expectations,” Zinn said. “It’s a tough district, but if we control what we do, everything will fall into place.”