MCDONOUGH - Success can be measured in a variety of ways.
For the third-year Alcovy Tigers, they have gradually redefined what it means to be a winner, albeit in a very patient manner.
In their inaugural season, the Tigers (3-3 overall, 2-2 Region 4-AAAA) were winless. In 2007 they won two games. And this year, with at least four games remaining on the schedule, they have already recorded three wins.
On Friday, they will look for their fourth when they travel to Ola (1-6, 1-4), which is also a third-year school.
"When you look at successful programs they keep doing what they're doing and get better at it; that's what success is," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "From day one of when we started this program, we haven't made a lot of changes. My coaching staff has been together, and we're showing signs of getting better and better every week, and that's the biggest thing for us. I've always said the next game is the most important game, and for us that holds true."
Tied for fourth in the region, Alcovy is averaging 15.7 points per game while allowing 13.2 points. But its three losses have only been by a combined 24 points. Take a couple of plays away, and the Tigers could easily have more wins.
Against Ola, it begins with Alcovy's leading rusher, Malachi Outlaw.
"We've put a lot on this kid, and this year he has shown that he can carry the load," Hoffmann said. "If he has a big game, that will be big for us."
Defensively, Alcovy's Matt Gunnells and Bryan Daniels must continue to play the way they have been - lights out.
"If those kids come to play, then we're playing to the ability that we can," Hoffmann said. "For me, I just go back and look at the whole season. We've gotten better everywhere - the kicking game, defensively, offensively. But a lot of that's a credit to the kids and what they've done in the offseason and believing in the system."
For Ola, defense has been its Achilles heel. In seven games, the Mustangs have allowed a total of 255 points, 36.4 per game.
"This region's up for grabs," Hoffmann said. "There's a lot of balance in this region, and Ola's a good football team. If you go back and see who they've played, they've played some quality football teams. So, we've got our work cut out for us. We've got to do some things correctly to win."
Offensively, the Mustangs are averaging just 9.6 points per game.
"(Ola) is similar to us," Hoffmann said. "They're a fairly new school, and they've done an outstanding job of getting those kids to play hard. They've got great size. They're not the fastest team in the region but they play hard, and the kids are very scrappy. If you go back and look at the tapes, they've been in every ball game."
Just as the Alcovy Tigers have been. And Friday should be no different.
Jason Murdock can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: Alcovy vs. Ola
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Ola High School
Series: First meeting