COVINGTON - When Alcovy and Newton renew their county rivalry tonight, it could be a high-flying game or a battle in the trenches, depending on the weather.
"(Alcovy) doesn't like to throw the ball, and if the weather becomes a factor, which it could, it comes down to who can run the ball the best," Newton coach Nick Collins said. "If everything is in our favor, we're going to throw the football early and if we get a chance we're going to throw it deep. If not, then you can expect to see a heavy dose of Akeem Hunt, DJ Hill, Torrian Hunte and Javonte Williams."
The running back by committee system Newton has adopted gives Collins the best of everything based on the situation.
Hunt is small and quick, while Williams is their speedster. Hill and Hunte provide the power.
"We can from 180 (pounds) to 205 to 230. Depending on what's needed, we've got different backs that can fit any situation in a game," Collins said.
Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann is not concerned about the weather. He feels that if his team can eliminate the big plays and stay focused it can pad its record to 3-1 against Newton.
"It might rain, it might not. That's one of those things you have no control over, so why worry about it? After coaching for 25 years, both teams have to play in the same weather so just line up and play," he said. "Being the first game, you always worry about big plays. We can't give up a whole lot of big plays."
The running game is going to play a big part in Newton's scheme not only out of design, but also out of necessity.
While Alcovy's Rod Tolen has been preparing for the first game of the season, Newton's quarterback has had little time to prepare.
"Anthony Johnson will be our starter at quarterback. This is the first time he's played in a regular game in two years because of injuries," Collins said. "A lot of it will be dictated by his comfort level and our ability to run the football."
Having Tolen in Alcovy's backfield gives the Tigers the ability to use him as a third back. Also getting possible touches in the backfield for the Tigers will be Devon Edwards, Tre Sorrells and Darnell Humphrey.
"We're going to try to spread touches around," Hoffmann said. "Offensively, you start doing the things that start working for you. I think it's going to be a great game. I think Newton has an outstanding football team. I think they have good size and good speed.
"Coach Collins has built that program basically from the ground up and done an outstanding job. I think you'll see two teams that will play hard. I think it'll be an exciting game, the last three have been that way. We're going to have to show up ready to play, there's no doubt about that."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: Newton at Alcovy
· Where: Homer Sharp Stadium
· When: Tonight, 7:30
· Last meeting: Alcovy 3, Newton 0
· Series: Alcovy leads 2-1