Penalties and turnovers too much for Tigers to overcome

COVINGTON -- A different call here or there and Alcovy could have won its season opener. But the Tigers did not have the calls go their way, resulting in a 21-16 loss to Jones County on Thursday at Homer Sharp Stadium.

One of the main plays came in the early in the third quarter when Alcovy's Okon Godwin stripped the ball out of Jones County's Jo Jo Gibbons' hands before he hit the ground. But by the time Godwin could make it into the end zone, the whistle had blown calling the runner down

"Those are plays where you say if it goes our way it's a big play if it goes their way, it's fortunate. It didn't go our way. I thought there were a couple of plays that didn't go our way. But that's football," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. "There are probably five plays against us that if they go the other way it's probably a different outcome. But it didn't."

The Tigers also stopped themselves with five turnovers and 11 penalties. One penalty that hurt in particular came late in the fourth quarter. Trailing 21-16, Alcovy's defense pushed the Greyhounds back with a couple of losses and a 12-yard sack by Leroy Robinson. making it fourth and 26. But instead of getting the ball at midfield following a short kick, a roughing the kicker penalty resulted in a first and 10, allowing Jones County to hold onto the ball and run out the clock.

"We were still making one too many mistakes," Hoffman said. "We'd make a good play then we have a penalty behind that, and we can't have that."

Defensively, the Tigers played well with interceptions by Marcus Williams and Robert Bullard. They also sacked Jones County quarterback Alex Knight three times. Joining Robinson in sacking the quarter back were Chris Dubois and Joaquin Ross.

"We're getting better. Coming in (secondary) was one of our weak spots. But this week it took off," Hoffman said. "If we keep getting better these first four non-region games then we'll be playing pretty good going into region."

Offensively, the Tigers threw the ball more than they normally do. Alcovy quarterback Marcus Williams threw the ball 19 times with nine completions, but he also tossed three interceptions.

"I've got a lot of confidence," Hoffman said of his quarterback. "If they're going to pack the box in to stop the running game, we have to be able to throw it. I think Marcus did an outstanding job for us and the receivers did an outstanding job. We made a couple key misreads, but that's why we need to get better."

Catching the ball four times for 42 yards was Jaylin Penny, with Cornell White getting three catches for 41 yards and Bullard getting one catch for 27 yards.

Alcovy took advantage of a Greyhounds miscue, getting the ball first and 10 on the 17-yard line following a bad snap on a punt attempt. After losing three yards on the first two plays, Marcus Williams found Jaylin Penny in the end zone. The Tigers made it 7-0 with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter with Rysen Richardson kicking the extra point.

Following a Williams interception of Jones County quarterback Alex Knight, Richardson again added to the Tigers' tally with a 32-yard field goal with 9:35 remaining in the first half.

Poor tackling by the Tigers late in the second quarter allowed an 8-yard pass by Knight to Gibbons to turn into a 56-yard play, giving Jones County a first and goal from the 7-yard line. It took three plays before Undre Williams punched it in to make it 10-7 with 32 seconds left in the half.

The Jones County running back rushed for 142 yards on 16 carries. The Greyhounds finished with 204 rushing yards and 56 passing on one reception.

"They're a good offensive football team. They have eight back from a team that should've made the playoffs last year," Hoffman said.

After trading interceptions, the Greyhounds, aided a 15-yard Alcovy penalty, marched down the field 54 yards in four plays to take a 14-10 lead at the 7:50 mark.

Jones County continued to tack on to its score with another Undre Williams touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Despite being down 21-10 with less than half the quarter left did not bring the Tigers down. A 35-yard pass from Marcus Williams to White, followed by a 5-yard jaunt by Spleen, closed the gap to 21-16.

"I was proud of the way we handled adversity. We got down then we battled back," Hoffman said. "I thought offensively that we started to pick our timing up a little bit which was a concern."