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Covington football playing in upgraded facilities, new helmets

Covington High was one of the three high schools in Tipton County to install turf fields this year.

COVINGTON, Tenn. — It’s always nice when you get new things and Covington football steps into this season with a lot of upgrades to their facilities, but what doesn’t change is how hard they work.

Looking around the newly named James Pinner Stadium, there's a lot one might not recognize. There are new goalposts in the end zones and new LED lights. On the field, the Chargers play in new white helmets and on a brand new turf field.

With change always comes a little resistance, said head coach J.R. Kirby.

"The community was a little mixed about it at first, you know, with the tradition here and the goalposts we changed, but overall the reaction’s been great. Kids have loved it. We got to get on it at the end of the spring. I know the other two county schools have really loved it," Kirby said.

Three turf fields were installed at Covington, Munford and Brighton for just over $3 million earlier this year. The idea for new turf began at Covington, as the Chargers were renovating their weight room and fieldhouse.

Eventually, Kirby pitched the idea to Tipton County's school board which used money from the school's general fund. Kirby is enjoying not having to maintain a grass field.

"I used to cut this thing every day and water and then we paint. We don’t have to do that now, but it’s great and Dr. Combs and our school board have been able to do this for our kids here," Kirby said.

As far as the white helmets, Kirby said his seniors wanted the change after he brought in a small white replica as an example.

There were some mixed emotions about that from the community because we've been gold here for a while," Kirby said. "If you know a lot about this program it’s been purple before, it’s been white in the past back in the 60’s so they’ve been a mixture but we’ve been gold the past 15-20 years."

With all that new, what hasn’t changed is Covington’s dominance. After stumbling out the gate in a loss to Munford, they’ve won their last 3 three games by a combined 134 points to six. Much of the scoring comes from the feet of senior Jamarion Dowell.

"I just ball man. I can't lie, I just ball. Do whatever I can for our team to win," Dowell said.

Dowell has 468 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. As a junior, he was a Mr. Football semifinalist, but this year he wants to finish the deal.

"I ain’t gonna lie, it’s always been a goal since middle school really. I always wanted to be a Mr. Football," Dowell said.

"He’s a leader for us. He’s team captain," Kirby said. "We’re really, really fortunate to have Jamarion Dowell and we’re gonna miss him when he’s gone."

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