COVINGTON - Even though Alcovy's soccer program is in its third year, this will still be a year of firsts.
For the first time the boys will be under a new coach. Former Alcovy girls coach Chris Edgar will now head the boys program.
"I enjoyed working with the girls team, but am also very excited about the opportunity to coach the boys," Edgar said.
The other first, a change in region, could mean a chance to make it to the Class AAAA state playoffs.
"I think the move to this (region) will be similar for soccer as it has been in other sports. I think we will be very competitive in this (region)," Edgar said.
Even though the move from Region 8-AAAA to Region 4-AAAA means that the Tigers will no longer have to play teams such as Salem and Habersham Central, Edgar feels that the new region will be just as competitive.
"North Clayton, Forest Park, Jonesboro and Dutchtown all made the playoffs last year. Ola joins this (region) as well and should be tough," he said. "I really think every region game is going to be vitally important."
Besides making it to the Class AAAA playoffs for the first time, the other goals for Alcovy include repeating as Newton County champions.
Alcovy, under the guidance of Michael Ebel last year, won the county championship with a 4-3 win over Newton and a 1-0 win over Eastside.
"I think Newton and Eastside will have strong clubs, so this will be a tough battle," Edgar said.
Returning with an added year of experience for the Tigers are Nick Waggoner, Gene Stolp, Kyle Vojtesak and David Maturino.
Besides the returning players, there are other players that Edgar is counting on to help Alcovy reach its goals. Those players include Quamere Rooks, Sama Tucker, Dakota Papke, Dustin Ballew, Altoine Wilson, Matt Spradlin, Darion Miller and Oran Allen.
"Our strength offensively will be speed on the wings and ball control in the middle," Edgar said. "We have really been focusing on shooting in our early practices and several players are making good decisions with their shooting. I hope this carries over to the season. Defensively, our strength will be physical play. Their closing speed has been impressive also. Our touch in the back needs to improve, but again should with experience."
A lot of what Alcovy does will be based on keeping its opponents on their heels.
If all goes as planned, that pressure will come from Rooks, Tucker, Papke and Ballew.
"I am an aggressive-minded coach," Edgar said. "I really believe that if we can keep the offensive pressure on our opponents, that it will help with defense.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: At a glance
Team: Alcovy boys soccer
Coach: Chris Edgar (first season)
Last year's record: 7-7-0
First game: Tuesday vs. Jackson