COVINGTON - The Alcovy boys claimed the Newton County championship and the No. 4 seed from Region 8-AAAA South in the upcoming playoffs with their 1-0 win over Eastside, while the Eastside girls earned their first trip to the area playoffs since moving to Class AAAA six years ago by beating the Lady Tigers 2-1 Friday.
"It's got a nice ring to it - county champs," Alcovy boys coach Michael Ebel said. "Any time you can get a win over both guys in one season it's fantastic. To do it in our second year, that sets the bar pretty high to keep this thing rolling."
Alcovy 1, Eastside 0
The Tigers let the chance to take the lead early in the game slip away when they allowed a cross pass in front of an open net to go untouched.
"We had several chances early and we didn't convert. We put the pressure on them and dominated most of the game. Unfortunately, the scoreboard didn't show it. But we played well, we did what we needed to do. It was a physical game, but when you play a county rival, that's kind of what to expect," Ebel said.
However, Alcovy's Gene Stolp took advantage of a lull when players from both sides stood by the ball. Stolp scored from 30 yards out at the 12-minute mark on a high shot.
"It seemed like everything was going in slow motion for a while. Gene stepped up and made the shot," Ebel said. "He just pulled the trigger and it looked like everybody just stood around and watched it go to the back of the net."
The shot not only surprised the Eastside defenders, it also caught Eastside backup keeper Austin Cates off guard as well.
"That's been our MO on defense, we wait for someone else on our team to step up and make the play," Eastside boys coach Brian Saffold said. "I think the keeper fell into the same category; he was in a trance waiting for someone to step up. Did it surprise him? Yes. Should have he been prepared? Yes."
Eastside had a few chances to get back into the game. But for the most part, the Tigers controlled the tempo and kept the ball in Eastside territory.
The Eagles started the second half attacking trying to tie the game, but Alcovy's defense pushed them back.
"We had a lot of balls at our feet that we couldn't get off the shot. We had our opportunities, we just couldn't capitalize," Saffold said. "A lot of that was because the guys were giving it their all in a really physical game and they were exhausted."
While the goals were scarce, there were plenty of yellow cards thrown with Alcovy getting four of the five and a yellow-red.
Eastside was also handed a red card with four seconds left in the game.
Eastside 2, Alcovy 1
From the initial touch, the Lady Eagles controlled the tempo most of the first half in the game and never let Alcovy gain it.
It didn't take long for Eastside to show its dominance as Ashton Tehrani scored in the eighth minute.
Tehrani took advantage of a 2-on-1 situation with her second goal 20 minutes later.
"Her two goals were beautiful," Eastside girls coach Libba Willcox said. "She's our leading scorer this season."
Eastside tried to dominate the second half, but the Tigers were able to surprise the Lady Eagles with a few shots of their own and a new attitude.
"That last 10 minutes of the first half I thought we looked good. I thought it was pretty even in the second half," Alcovy girls coach Chris Edgar said. "They really wanted this game and I feel bad for them that they weren't able to win. (Eastside) played hard and they got the win, but our girls played hard. We mounted an offensive presence which we hadn't had in several weeks, especially in the second half."
After attacking for most of the second half the Lady Tigers were rewarded with 6:35 left in the game when Kendal Kruger fought through two Eastside defenders for the goal.
"The thing about Kendal is that she's like a little pinball. She's not afraid to go up against really big girls. She's tough, she might be the toughest player I have on the team. I was happy she got the shot," Edgar said.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.