COVINGTON - Alcovy came out ready to play by establishing the running game early in the contest in their 17-8 win over county-rival Newton at Homer Sharp Stadium on Friday.
The Tigers ran the ball 22 times for 111 yards in the first half. They finished with a total of 173 yards on the ground on 43 touches. Leading Alcovy on the ground was sophomore Tre Sorrells with 21 carries for 88 yards. Quarterback Rod Tolen was right on his heels with 83 yards on 17 carries.
"I felt like we had to get a lot of touches on the ball and we tried to get the ball early to Devon Edwards on the sweep. And wherever he went they went. So we started running him one way and we went the other way," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said.
"But what can you say about him and Tre Sorrells and Rod Tolen and an offensive line that's inexperienced? We have a long way to go but we played hard and played hard every down."
While Alcovy did a good job taking care of business, the Rams also helped in their cause with untimely penalties. Newton finished the game with 13 flags thrown against them for 113 yards.
The first Newton penalty which Alcovy was able to use to their advantage came early in the game when an unsportsmanlike call put Kyle Vojtesak in position to kick a 45-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Following a Kejuan Frazier interception in the second quarter, the Tigers marched the ball 53 yards in seven plays, with the help of a roughing the kicker penalty, with Sorrells taking the ball the final five yards to give Alcovy a 10-0 lead with 9:04 left in the opening half.
"I said that somebody has to make plays. It wasn't just one person (Friday) night. We had a sack, we had an interception, a forced fumble; we have to continue that pace. That's where we should be right now," Hoffmann said.
Akeem Hunt gave Newton something to cheer about after taking second-half kickoff 58 yards. Newton again stopped themselves after Tyree Williams gained 14 yards on a second and 13 play with a holding penalty.
Hunt again put the Rams in good field position with a 35-yard punt putting the ball on the Alcovy 25.
This time Newton was able to get their running game on track as DJ Hill finished the drive with a 4-yard run with 3:26 left in the second.
Alcovy responded with a 13-play, 70-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard Tolen run, to give the Tigers a 17-8 lead with 11 minutes left to play.
"Coach (Nick) Collins brought them out ready to go. I probably didn't do the job I should have at the half. We weathered the storm then came back with a nice drive," Hoffmann said. "Those are the things we've got to get to during the year."
Hill ended the game with 32 yards on 10 carries followed by Hunt who had eight rushes for 24 yards.
As a team, the Rams had 77 yards on the ground on 25 carries.
Newton looked like they were starting to get into a steady rhythm but Alcovy's defense again raised to the challenge causing a fumble which was recovered by Cornell Dodson.
"This is the first game, now we just have to worry about the next one," Hoffmann said. "That's the most important one, the next game."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.