COVINGTON - The Alcovy Tigers ended their 2007 football campaign in heartbreaking fashion Friday night at Sharp Stadium.
With 18 seconds remaining, Winder-Barrow's Greg Dixon completed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Bradberry to give the Bulldoggs a 17-10 victory over the Tigers.
Despite the loss, Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann praised his team's effort and the progress they have made in two years.
"Haven't they done that (played hard) all year?" Hoffmann said. "It's like I told the kids, 'How many of these teams in two years are playing the way we're playing?' We just get snakebit, I guess. We'll get there; it hurts right now, but we'll get there and this is just going to make us a stronger football team."
Seniors Ryan Ledford and Eric Strozier paced the Alcovy offense as Ledford completed 13 of 25 passes for 253 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ledford added 25 rushing yards on 17 carries. Strozier caught eight passes for 191 yards.
"He's a player," Hoffmann said of Strozier's effort. "(With Ryan) from last year to this year, it's been 180 degrees. He's become a leader and had us in ballgames."
The Alcovy defense also stepped up, especially early in the game. Alcovy (2-8) allowed just 58 rushing yards in the game and 10 at the half. The Tigers allowed 29 passing yards in the first half and 165 for the game.
"You've got to take your hats off to them," Hoffmann said of the defense.
Early in the second quarter, Alcovy had a chance to go deep into Winder-Barrow territory when Ledford completed a 69-yard pass to Strozier, but Strozier fumbled at the 11.
Alcovy stalled on its next possession at the Winder-Barrow 9, but Tim Walsh kicked a 26-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 3-0 with 2:04 remaining in the second quarter.
On Winder-Barrow's first play of the second half, Alcovy's Keldrin Strickland recovered a Dixon fumble to put the Tigers at the Winder-Barrow 37.
Two plays later, Malachi Outlaw ran for a 29-yard touchdown, but the play was called back on a holding penalty.
The Tigers recovered and three plays later, Ledford completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Cody Edwards with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter. Walsh kicked the extra point to give Alcovy a 10-0 lead.
Winder-Barrow (5-5) came back on its next drive, and with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter, Jesse McGee kicked a 35-yard field goal. On the kickoff, the Bulldoggs then recovered an onside kick at the Alcovy 44.
Winder-Barrow went for a reverse with Chris Wragg gaining 29 yards on the run, putting the Bulldogs at the Alcovy 15.
Dixon then completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Justin Fricks. McGee added the extra point to tie the game at 10-10 with 5:46 remaining in the third frame.
Outlaw led all rushers with 58 yards on 15 carries.
Dixon completed 11 of 19 passes for 165 yards for Winder-Barrow while Bradberry caught eight passes for 126 yards.
Anthony Rhoads can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.