COVINGTON -- Alcovy continue its turnaround from their disappointing 2010 campaign Friday night as they hosted perennial state power Griffin at Homer Sharp Stadium. The Tigers wasted no time welcoming the Griffin to town en route to a 17-16 victory over their youthful opponent.
The game appeared well in hand as Alcovy (3-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 3A-AAAA) scored what seemed to be the knock following a Cornell White 15-yard touchdown which increased the host lead to 17-0 with 6:09 left in the third quarter. However, a controversial first down by Griffin (3-2, 0-2) appeared to unravel the Tigers and led to 16 unanswered points putting Alcovy on the brink of a region loss.
"We just need to better ourselves. We're getting there," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. "We just need to get back to work."
Following Griffin's initial venture into the end zone late in the third quarter, the Tigers nemesis reared its ugly head. Special teams miscues again posed problems as the Bears recovered an onside kick. Alcovy's defense held and forced a Griffin punt. But special teams again let the Bears in the game as the Tigers had their next punt blocked and returned for a touchdown by Griffin's Travis Mayes with less than 10 minutes remaining in the contest cutting the Tigers lead to 17-14.
"Blocked punts are killing us and we've got to fix that," Hoffman emphasized. "That's cost us two games and almost another (Friday night)."
The unraveling continued two plays later as White was sacked in the end zone for a safety cutting the lead to one point. Griffin's Malik Miller took the free kick at the Bears 45 and received a big hit at midfield jarring the ball loose finding Alcovy junior Jesse Head saving the victory.
Taking over with 9:22 left, the Tigers offense regained its composure which was helped by a 23-yard pitch and catch between White and Devon Edwards who noticed earlier in the game the Bears secondary was giving him the seam.
"Edwards told us they were giving him the seam," Hoffman said. "and we got it."
The Bears showed their inexperience to start the game with a fumble on the kickoff which was recovered by Alcovy at Griffin's 35-yard line. The Tigers set the tempo for the game from the first play from scrimmage as they pounded out an 11 play, 24-yard drive which took 5:20 off the opening quarter. It ended with a Rysen Richardson 26-yard field goal to start the scoring on the evening.
The Tigers appeared to force a three and out on Griffin's first possession but a 10-yard pick up off a fake punt breathed life into the Bears. Alcovy's defense bent considerably on the drive which consumed the rest of the first quarter and saw the Griffin offense churn out an 18 play, 59 yard drive. The drive did not come to an end until Alcovy's defense stopped a fourth and one on the opening play of the second quarter.
The three headed monster of Alcovy's offense Edwards, White and Tre Sorrells, slowly gained steam in the opening half and turned the momentum of the game toward the host squad. White broke runs of 27 and 45 yards in the first half while Sorrells added a 33-yard jaunt to the ground attack midway through the second quarter.
White led all ball carriers with 198 yards on 27 carries The junior added 56 yards passing for the evening. Sorrells chipped in with 59 yards on the ground along with Edwards who accumulated 59 yards rushing and 23 yards receiving.
The night's best run came from Edwards who seemingly dragged the entire Bears' entourage with him on his way to the night's first touchdown, a 12 yard scamper around the left end with 2:49 left in the half and increasing Alcovy's lead to 10-0.