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Key test for Tigers
Alcovy starts stretch run against Mt. Zion

COVINGTON - With three games left in the regular season, the Alcovy Tigers have put themselves in the thick of the fight for a playoff spot in Region 4-AAAA.

That fight beings in earnest tonight when the Tigers (6-1 overall, 4-1 in 4-AAAA) entertain Mt. Zion (6-2 overall, 4-2 in 4-AAAA) at Homer Sharp Stadium.

Right now, Alcovy is tied with North Clayton for second in the region at 4-1, just a game behind undefeated Griffin at 5-0. Mt. Zion holds down the fourth spot at 4-2, half a game in front of Dutchtown at 3-2.

Obviously, the outcome of tonight's game could loom large in the final region standings.

Last year, the Tigers were in the hunt for a playoff berth, but lost two of their final three games, including a 32-15 setback at Mt. Zion, and finished a game away from a

postseason berth.

"It's the next one on our schedule, so it's a big game," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "You've got to like where we're at right now. We've played hard and put ourselves in position to have the opportunity to have some success."

The Tigers have won four straight games since suffering their only loss of the season at North Clayton, but Hoffmann knows Mt. Zion will be a tough test for his team in its regular season home finale.

"They're a good football team," Hoffmann said. "They've got 18 starters back from a team that made the quarterfinals last year. They've got a lot of experience and a lot of size."

Alcovy's defense has been rock solid all season, allowing just seven points a game, which is the second lowest average in the region.

On the other hand, Mt. Zion's offense is one of the highest scoring in the region at 31 points per game, trailing only region leader Griffin which averages 38 a contest.

In order to be successful, the Tigers will have to do a good job of bottling up the Bulldogs' option attack on offense.

"We're going to have to gang-tackle and get people around the football," Hoffmann said. "We have to make sure we don't miss tackles. We have to play disciplined football and not miss our assignments because they run a lot of option. We haven't really seen it a lot of this year."

In fact, Alcovy's offense is also part of the plan to combat Mt. Zion's option game.

"One, we've got to hold onto the football when we have it, because they're a good offensive football team. We have to take some time off the clock," Hoffmann. "Two, we've got to stay on our blocks up front."

SideBar: Mt.Zion at Alcovy

· Who: Mt. Zion (6-2 overall, 4-2 in 4-AAAA) at Alcovy (6-1 overall, 4-1 in 4-AAAA)

· Where: Homer Sharp Stadium

· When: 7:30 p.m. today

· Last week: Alcovy beat Ola 28-7, Mt. Zion beat Dutchtown 24-0

· Series: Mt. Zion leads 1-0

· Last season: Mt. Zion won 32-15