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Alcovy improves from winless inaugural season

COVINGTON - The Alcovy Tigers may not have won a lot of football games this year, but one thing is certain - they were a better team.

After last year's winless inaugural season, the Tigers went 2-8 in 2007 and, overall, were more competitive on the football field.

Alcovy started the season with a 34-14 loss to Habersham Central but picked up its first win in school history by defeating county rival Newton 23-0.

The Tigers dropped two games to Winder-Barrow and Apalachee before opening Region 8-AAAA South play with a 20-6 victory over Rockdale. The win over Rockdale kept the Tigers in contention in the subregion standings until the final subregion game against Heritage.

In the ninth game of the season, Alcovy and Heritage squared off to see who would advance to play Habersham Central in the Region 8-AAAA play-in game.

Alcovy came up short in that contest 28-24 to finish fifth in the sub-region standings. The Tigers then lost 17-10 in a rematch with Winder-Barrow to close the season.

"We made great strides from this season to last year's season," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "The improvement could be seen as we played competitive ball in each and every game. As a team, we made great strides. I truly believe that the program is headed in the right direction. The players have seen what it takes to be successful. I believe that they are ready to continue to get better by working hard in the offseason."

One of the reasons the Tigers were more competitive this year was the play at the skill positions, particularly quarterback Ryan Ledford, running back Malachi Outlaw and wide receivers Eric Strozier and Cody Edwards.

"Coming into this season, we put a lot of stock in the fact that our skill players would have to play well for us to be competitive," Hoffmann said. "They did not let us down. The passing game improved greatly because of the play of Ledford, Strozier, and Cody Edwards. Outlaw was just outstanding in leading us for the season in rushing."

Alcovy loses Strozier and Ledford to graduation, and Outlaw should be a key contributor again next year in his senior season.

"The future is very bright," Hoffmann said. "We lose a lot in the leadership of the senior class. However, we had many underclassmen step up and contribute this season. We were young at many positions this year."

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