A high school lineman was tossing the ball for fun when his coach saw. Now he's a winning quarterback

A high school lineman was tossing the ball for fun when his coach saw. Now he's a winning quarterback
Former defensive lineman Michael Cova has helped Lincoln go unbeaten in Northern League play this season. (Albert Carrillo)

In one of the strangest twists of the 2016 high school football season, Los Angeles Lincoln is on the verge of its first Northern League  championship since 1985, thanks to a quarterback who was a defensive lineman last season.

Michael Cova passed for three touchdowns on Friday night to lift Lincoln past unbeaten Franklin, 33-27, in overtime. Lincoln is 3-0 in league and 4-3 overall, and the story of how Cova became a quarterback is pretty funny.


"This year we had nobody," Coach Albert Carrillo said.

Cova was a 6-foot-1, 235-pound defensive lineman who had played just one season of high school football

"I had the body of a lineman, so they tried me out on the DL, and I got the position," Cova said.

Desperate for a quarterback, Carrillo moved Cova to quarterback after seeing him throw while having fun.

"His arm is so strong on short routes the kids would duck and get out of the way," Carrillo said. "I just started working with him over the summer and he's improved and improved."

Cova completed nine of 15 passes for 158 yards to hand Franklin its first loss in eight games. Braulio Chavez caught two touchdowns. And there's something else good about playing quarterback. Cova is down to 215 pounds.

"We used to plan on going to buffets as a lineman," he said. "Now I don't eat as much knowing I have to keep moving in the pocket."

Cova occasionally gets to play on the line when Lincoln needs him."It's fun," he said of playing quarterback, "but it's not as fun as hitting someone and getting the glory of sacking someone."

Defensive linemen always dream of scoring a touchdown, but how many ever get to dream of passing for a touchdown?

"Yes I did," Cova said of his passing dream. "A couple people knew I had a arm because I used to play baseball, but they didn't think I could throw a football that far."

Victory No. 300:  Lou Farrar, 70, began coaching in 1968, and Covina Charter Oak players just gave him his 300th coaching victory with a 45-21 win over Chino. Charter Oak is 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in Southern Section Division 4.

"It's been a long journey," said Farrar, who has been Charter Oak's only coach since it opened in 1985 when combined with Royal Oak. "It feels good. It was an opportunity to have a lot of great kids come through and a lot of coaches stay. My wife has supported me, and it's made a difference."

His wife, however, reminded him how old he really is.

"My wife keeps reminding me some of the kids I coached are 65 years old," he said.


But Farrar is full of energy. He got home at 2:30 a.m. after Friday night's game. He was up at 6 a.m. for a booster breakfast.

"I look 70 on the outside but feel 25 on the inside," he said. "I still have that spark. I still want to coach."