Tigers fall to Eagles in region opener
Five turnovers prove costly for Alcovy in 21-14 loss

COVINGTON - Not only did the Alcovy Tigers have to battle a tough North Clayton team, they also had to battle themselves in their 21-14 Region 4-AAAA loss Saturday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

The Tigers (1-2 overall, 0-1 in 4-AAAA) put the ball on the ground three times, losing it once, and threw four interceptions.

"We didn't take care of the football. You have to do that against good teams and they're a pretty good team. A lot of people picked them to win the region," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "We played hard, we just shot ourselves in the foot."

One of the interceptions gave the Eagles (2-1, 1-0) the ball on the Alcovy 26-yard line, which resulted in a touchdown when Clarence Jackson caught a Milton Artis pass from 23 yards out.

However, Alcovy also took advantage of a few North Clayton miscues. For the first score of the game, the Tigers' Nick Wilson intercepted Artis and returned it 93 yards for the touchdown with 8:50 left to play in the first quarter.

The Tigers took a 7-6 lead into halftime, but lost the lead on North Clayton's first possession when it drove the ball 47 yards in 10 plays for the go-ahead touchdown

Following a 2-point conversion, North Clayton increased its lead to 14-7 five minutes into the second half.

A turning point in the drive was when the Eagles made a first down on a fourth-and-2 from the 26-yard line.

The Eagles went for it on fourth down four times during the contest, converting three times.

"If we make about three plays, we're right there," Hoffmann said. "Like I told the kids, we're at that point in the season where about six plays is going to determine the game. We've got to start winning those six, and we're not right now."

The Tigers were able to tie the game on nine-play, 40-drive drive when Rod Tolen made it into the end zone for the final yard with 11:28 left to play.

Tolen, who came in at quarterback in the second half after PJ Thompkins left the game, lead the Tigers in rushing with 73 yards on 14 carries.

"My hat's off to Rod Tolen, he came in and had to play both ways. He's banged up and wouldn't take himself out," Hoffmann said. "Every time I tried to take him out, he wanted to stay in there. He makes things happen; that's a tribute because he's a heck of an athlete," Hoffman said

Alcovy's celebration lasted for about 18 seconds. That's how long it took Jackson to take the ball 92 yards on the ensuing kickoff for the touchdown.

"Our last two games have been against two pretty good teams. Let's not take anything away from these guys," Hoffman said. "We're getting there, we just have to keep working."

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