NEWNAN -- Alcovy knew it was in for a long night when the opening kickoff was returned 52 yards as the Tigers lost their bid for a Region 3-AAAA championship with a 42-13 loss to Northgate on Friday.
"They're 10-0 and state- ranked for a reason," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. "When you're playing a good team, everybody has to be ready and we just weren't."
Even though the Vikings (10-0) put themselves in great position to score with the ball on the Tigers' (6-4) 32-yard line, Alcovy had different thoughts as sophomore Godwin Okon intercepted Bret Misutka's pass. It was the first time Misutka had been intercepted all season.
The Tigers were making their way downfield but were forced to punt the ball on the seventh play of the drive. After forcing Northgate to punt the ball after three plays, it took the Tigers about 17 seconds and two plays before Devon Edwards made his way for a touchdown on a 45-yard run.
Edwards finished the game with 93 yards of offense with 84 coming on the ground.
The Tigers were able to stop Northgate on two straight possessions before it saw Alcovy's defensive scheme and made adjustments. Those adjustments allowed Northgate to find the endzone five of their next six possessions, including a one-play, 47-yard strike to Brandon Facyson with no time left on the clock, to take a 35-7 halftime lead.
"They figured out we were overloading and they said we're going to balance you up and they were able to find some of our younger kids and that's what happened," Hoffman said.
Alcovy came out in the second half and showed that it was ready to take the fight to the Vikings. But after moving the ball 53 yards on nine plays, Alcovy fell six inches short of a first down on a fourth-and-5 play.
Northgate was able to methodically move the ball 77 yards on 11 running plays to score their final touchdown of the game before pulling back.
Alcovy's final score came on a 36-yard pass to Jaylyn Penny by sophomore quarterback Clayton Anderson.
The Tigers ended the game with 119 rushing and 70 passing yards. Northgate's Payton Usher had 126 yards rushing on 16 touches with Alex Lakes adding 100 more on 20 carries as Northgate had 267 rushing yards for the game.
Alcovy will be back at Homer Sharp Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday to take on Tri-Cities (8-2) in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
"There were some plays we didn't make in the first quarter that hurt us. We dropped a pass that if we catch we keep the drive; we jump offsides on third and one, when you play a good team you have to make those plays," Hoffman said.
"I'm not pleased at all. I'd be lying if I said I was pleased. But it's like I told the kids, everyone is 0-0 now. That's how we're going to take it and get ready for the playoffs."