Tigers keep improving in 3rd year

COVINGTON - Even though Alcovy failed to make the playoffs, missing the postseason by one game, the Tigers' football team has improved every year in their three-year history, and this year was no different.

"For the most part, I thought we had a good season. You can see the improvement in the program," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "When we first started this program, we struggled in every game. Then last year, we won a few, but still we were not competitive in every game. This season, we were competitive in each and every game."

Despite not making it to the playoffs, Hoffmann reached his other goal of getting better each and every game as the season progressed.

As Hoffmann looks back at his 5-5 season, 4-4 in Region 4-AAAA, he feels that it was closer than the one game that separated Alcovy from the playoffs.

"When you look back on the season, we were not one game away from the playoffs, but we were just one play away," he said.

"The main goal that we accomplished was being able to go into each game and know that we belonged."

Several Tigers were named to the all-region team, including Rod Tolen, who was named Region 4-AAAA Athlete of the Year.

Also being named to the all-region first team were senior running back Malachi Outlaw, who averaged 6.5 yards per rush for 1,248 yards on 192 carries, including two games, Griffin included, with 200 yards on the ground.

"The offensive line led by Maurice Valentine, Julian Gardner, Ellis Brown, Davey Jones, Roy Parham and Mardrecus Dowdell led an offense that had over 2,600 yards this season," Hoffmann said.

Defensively, the Tigers were led by all-region first teamer Matt Gunnells, who had 82 tackles. Sixteen of his stops were behind the line of scrimmage, along with 11 sacks.

"Other defensive players that led the team were Nick Wilson, Jamaree James and Rodrick Tolen," Hoffman said. "This group of players combined for a school-record 14 interceptions. Bryan Daniels led all player with 91 total tackles."

Of the players that proved their worth on the field, the two that went beyond Hoffmann's expectations were Kyle Vojtesak, who played double duty as their punter and kicker, and James.

A sophomore, James had five of Alcovy's 14 interceptions.

"Kyle had an outstanding year both punting and kicking. He was rewarded by being named all-region second team," Hoffmann said.

"Next year will be an exciting year. We lose some valuable seniors that will be missed. We do, however, return a good nucleus of players that, if they continue to work hard in the offseason, could accomplish a lot next year."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.