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Tigers, Patriots battle for playoff spot

COVINGTON - There are several Region 8-AAAA playoff scenarios going into this weekend but one thing is for certain - the Alcovy Tigers control their own destiny as they host Heritage tonight.

If Alcovy (2-6 overall, 1-3 in Region 8-AAAA) wins tonight, the team will secure a fourth-seed in the subregion standings. If they finish fourth in the subregion, the Tigers will travel to play Habersham Central in the Region 8-AAAA playoffs next week.

"It's really interesting because we are in this position," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "It's like I told the kids, we have an opportunity in front of us, and we have to take advantage of that opportunity."

Alcovy, a second-year team, was winless last year but won its first game in school history earlier this season against Newton and then won its first region game against Rockdale in the fifth week of the season.

"I don't think there's any doubt we're a better football team," Hoffmann said. "We're a better football team, and you have to give the kids some credit. I've got a bunch of kids who love the game of football."

Heritage (2-6, 0-4) doesn't have any subregion wins to its credit, but the Patriots have been competitive in every game. All of Heritage's subregion losses were by eight points or less.

"Their record does not indicate the kind of football team they are," Hoffmann said. "Coach (Chad) Frazier has done a good job getting those kids to buy into his system."

Hoffmann said some keys to beating Heritage will be consistency on offense, stopping Heritage quarterback Kenny Seabolt and not making mistakes.

"We've got to find a way to slow Seabolt down," Hoffmann said. "You can tell by watching him play that he's a student of the game and he makes good decisions. Offensively, we can't shoot ourselves in the foot We've put some good drives together but we have to finish it."

If the Patriots win tonight, they still have a chance to make the top four in the subregion but will need some help.

"Friday's game is the biggest game on our schedule," Frazier said. "It is huge for us. A win coupled with an Eastside win over Rockdale (on Saturday) gives us an opportunity to play Habersham and a chance to make the state playoffs."

Frazier said that a main key to winning will be to play mistake-free football.

"Keys to winning will be perfection execution of our assignments," he said. "We must be able to control the ball, make first downs and score, and then defensively we must play assignment football and tackle."

Frazier also noted that Alcovy will be formidable opponent tonight.

"Alcovy has talent and Coach Hoffmann has really brought them a long ways since reviewing the films from last year," Frazier said. "We must be able to stop their offensive attack as well as beat their 3-5 defense that creates confusion with their blitzing."

Anthony Rhoads can be reached at anthony.rhoads@newtoncitizen.com.