Tigers try to keep up in region
Second-place Alcovy looks for 3-1 start in region play

COVINGTON - It's going to take discipline on both sides of the ball against Dutchtown, if Alcovy hopes remain in second place in the Region 4-AAAA standings.

The Tigers (3-2 overall, 2-1 in 4-AAAA) entertain the Bulldogs (2-2 overall, 1-1 in 4-AAAA) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

A win would put the Tigers at 3-1 in the region with four games remaining.

"We've talked to the kids about how (last) Friday's game is over and this Friday's game is the next game. I'm big on that," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "Don't look down the road, don't look behind, look at what's ahead of us, and that's this Friday."

While the Bulldogs don't use a lot of offensive formations and keep their plays simple, they are very proficient at what they do.

"Dutchtown will give you fits," Hoffmann said. "They know that they're not going to break one, so let's get three yards, plus three yards and three yards now it's fourth and 1, and do we want to take a chance or not? They run this offense very well. I think from watching film they've gotten better on the offensive line every week. That means we have to be more disciplined than we've been because if we leave a gap, they're going to find it."

Last week against Jonesboro, the Tigers were forced to go to the bench to find a replacement for quarterback Rod Tolen.

Even though Tolen should be good to go, Hoffmann is ready just in case.

"He did some running and he was pain-free. We feel like he'll be back," Hoffmann said. "We're preparing for him to be back, and we're preparing for him not to be back. We haven't changed our practice if he is or isn't here."

If Tolen is unable to play, Alcovy is ready with his replacements, depending on the situation.

"If we feel we have to run it, we have people like Devon Edwards that can come in and run it. If we have to throw, we have people like David Ward and Bowen Braswell and Garrison Readdy," Hoffmann said. "We're getting a lot of kids reps in case he can't play."

There's also a chance that PJ Thompkins, who started the season as the Tiger quarterback, will be well enough to contribute after suffering a high-ankle sprain.

No matter who takes the snaps, the Tigers have to run the football consistently against a hard-hitting Dutchtown defense.

The Bulldogs are led on the defensive line by James Martin with Jacob Bagley and E'Shon Merchant at linebacker.

Turnovers are also going to play a big part in Friday's matchup.

"I was talking to some coaches and they were right when they said that the team that doesn't turn the football over is going to have a good chance to win in this region," Hoffmann said. "We have to take care of the football and the offensive line has to continue to get better and get after some people. We've got to play our style of football and not panic and get out of our game plan."

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

SideBar: If You Go

Who: Dutchtown Bulldogs at Alcovy Tigers

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Homer Sharp Stadium, Covington

Series: First meeting