One statistic that is often overlooked is blocked punts and Alcovy just may have the most of any Georgia team thus far in the 2009 season.
The Tigers used another blocked punt by defensive stalwart Gary Wilkins to score a first-quarter safety and spark a 22-0 win over Jonesboro on Friday night at Tara Stadium. The win improves Alcovy's record to 4-1 for the season and 2-1 in Region 6 AAAA play.
"It's our sixth or seventh (blocked punt) this year," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffmann said. "Our special teams coach deserves the credit."
Wilkins' blocked almost resulted in a touchdown but the ball was recovered just beyond the endline of the endzone. In Alcovy's only loss of the season, to North Clayton two weeks ago, the Tigers blocked three, with Wilkins scoring on one of those to keep them close in a 13-10 defeat.
"It's something we work on," Hoffmann said. "We had another opportunity late in the game but pulled back because I didn't want them to break a long one if they faked it."
The blocked punt had added value when Jonesboro elected to kick from a tee on its free kick and then kicked the ball out of bounds. This allowed Alcovy to begin its next offensive possession from the Jonesboro 45 yard line.
It the took the Tigers only six plays to convert the miscue to six points when senior quarterback Rod Tolen faked a handoff and dashed 17 yards around left end untouched for the endzone.
Alcovy built a 15-0 lead when Tolen lofted a 39-yard bomb that was hauled in by Vadarrius Brown with a little more than eight minutes left in the first half. A pesky Jonesboro team led by the quick feet and passing of quarterback Eric Holden refused to go away.
Holden hit four passes of more than 10 years, including a 27 yarder to Tyler Davidson, to march the Cardinals from their own 14 to Alcovy's 20 before the Tiger defense stiffened on a fourth and one sneak and took over on downs with only 20 seconds left in the half.
After Alcovy's first touchdown, the Tigers suffered an offsides penalty and then kicker Kyle Vojtesak missed the point after wide left. It was an uncharacteristic miss for Vojtesak, who had another outstanding effort punting the ball, with six kicks averaging more than 40 yards and only two yards of return yardage.
Jonesboro's Holden started off the second half the same way he ended the first by passing the Cardinals down the field on their first two possessions. Picking up two first down before punting and then holding Alcovy on downs, Jonesboro had a first down at the Tigers' 26 when Holden went to the air one time too many and had his pass picked off at the nine by Darrell Humphreys and returned to midfield.
The third period was mostly marred by penalties on both teams as Jonesboro saw a 72-yard pass and run from Holden to Dereon London that reached Alcovy's four yard line called back. The Tigers suffered the same fate when a 54-touchdown burst by Devon Edwards was nullified by a penalty.
Alcovy scored its third touchdown of the game as a result of another Jonesboro penalty, this time a pass interference call on a third and long from the Cardinals' 24 yard line. The penalty was half the distance to the goal and after another Edwards run of 4 yards, Chico Hardeman took a handoff and raced around the left end eight yards for the score.
The Hardeman touchdown seemed to take the spirit from Jonesboro and the Cardinals fumbled the ball away to Alcovy on their next possession. That turnover set up the Tigers at the Jonesboro 36. With David Ward at quarterback, the Tigers advanced to the 20 where the drive stalled and Vojtesak missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.