Covey’s hands key on back-to-back onside kick in Mavericks’ win over Black Hills State

Colorado Mesa special teams co-coordinator Tom Everson gathered his troops on the sideline and made the objective crystal clear:

Get the ball.

Black Hills State had just pulled off a perfect onside kick, with a player batting the ball back inbounds along the sideline to give the Yellow Jackets the ball at the CMU 48.

It only took three plays for Ryan Hommel to direct a touchdown drive, cutting CMU’s lead to 49-31.

“He had a great kick, went over our heads. Their kid did exactly what he was supposed to do, tipped the ball back inbounds and they recovered it,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “It’s no different than what we practice with our guys. It was great execution.”

The Yellow Jackets have come back all season long, and Saturday was no different, scoring 23 second-half points.

Corbin Covey, for one, received Everson’s message loud and clear.

The Jackets bounced the ball toward the CMU sideline, and Covey not only clutched the ball, the junior wide receiver did something with it in the Mavs’ 49-37 victory.

“We definitely didn’t want them to get it again. Who knows what could have happened?

“The first one I caught, I took eight, nine yards (actually 24, and he was one guy away from taking it to the house), that was our regular kickoff return,” Covey said.

“We were expecting the squib again and it came to my side. They say to wait 10 yards for where it passes, but I just ran up, because an extra third or fourth bounce could have sent it in the air like last time. I just played it right, had a great reaction off it.

“Everybody was shocked,” he laughed.

Covey ran the ball to the Black Hills 24, but the Mavericks managed only three yards, and Ryan Sheehan pulled a 39-yard field goal wide to the left.

After the Yellow Jackets scored on the ensuing possession to cut it to 49-37, Covey smothered the onside kick at the 45.

The Mavs got plenty of work on short kicks Saturday after Virnel Moon nearly broke another return for a score, getting tripped up after a 31-yard return. After that, the Jackets squibbed kicks.

Covey, who transferred from Moorpark Community College (California), said he was the guy in the right place at the right time. Players usually fall on the ball in those situations, but on the first one, his gamble paid off.

“I was coming toward it and caught it in midair and thought, ‘You know what? Let’s try to pick up a few yards and put our offense in good position,’ ‘’ he said. “I played it right, and luckily I didn’t fumble it.”


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