Tigers go for first win streak

COVINGTON - In three years, Alcovy has won its first game, region game and road game. Now, the Tigers will try to accomplish another first - back-to-back wins - when they meet the Jonesboro Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. today at Homer Sharp Stadium.

The Tigers (2-2 overall, 1-1 Region 4-AAAA) will have their hands full against a very solid Cardinals (2-1, 1-0) team.

So far this season, Jonesboro has wins over Class AAAAA Morrow (21-14) and Dutchtown (14-12) and a 14-10 loss to Valdosta, ranked 10th in Class AAAAA

"They do not make many mistakes," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "In the Valdosta and Dutchtown game, they had no turnovers. That is why they were in both games."

The one aspect of Jonesboro's game that has not kept pace with the rest of the team is their special teams unit - long snapping to be precise.

In their win over Dutchtown, the Cardinals opted to settle for a safety rather than risk having a punt blocked.

As a result, Jonesboro's offense could be more likely to try to go for the conversion instead of a kick on a fourth down play.

Alcovy has experience in this area when North Clayton made several fourth-down conversions in their 21-14 win over the Tigers.

However, Hoffmann said his defense has improved and is ready for the challenge should it present itself again.

"We have improved the last couple of weeks on defense because we have become disciplined. Each player is starting to understand their assignment," he said.

Besides stopping fourth down conversions, Alcovy's defensive players have to stay in their assigned areas to keep Jonesboro running backs Freddie Shannon and Perry Woods in check.

"We will have to be disciplined on defense this week because Jonesboro does a nice job of running inside and outside," Hoffmann said.

Offensively, the Tigers will have Rod Tolen taking the snaps under center since PJ Thompkins is still unable to play.

With Tolen leading the offense against Stockbridge last week, the Tigers scored a touchdown in each quarter and racked up 321 yards of total offense. He also led the Alcovy running game with 166 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown scamper.

Before Tolen can create opportunities, the offensive line will have to slow down linebacker Darius McKeller, who has verbally committed to Alabama.

"Rod has created a spark for us," Hoffmann said. "We want to run the ball first. I do feel that our passing game is getting better every week."

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

SideBar: If you go

Who: Jonesboro Cardinals (2-1) at Alcovy Tigers (2-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Homer Sharp Stadium

Last week: Alcovy beat Stockbridge 27-6; Jonesboro had a bye