COVINGTON -- Playoff hopes could depend on tonight's 7:30 game at Homer Sharp Stadium between Rockdale and Alcovy.
Lovejoy, who is ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAA by AP, has secured the Region 2-AAAAAA championship with Newton also claiming one of the three remaining spots.
"It's a huge game for us and Rockdale," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said.
The Tigers (3-5, 2-2) put themselves in a must-win situation after losing to Druid Hills last week 28-21 with Lovejoy left on their schedule to close out regular season play.
With Newton's Thursday night win over Luella, both teams are assured a first-round trip to the playoffs, having beaten Luella. Tonight's winner will end up the No. 3 seed.
Rockdale (2-6, 2-2) had a chance to heal some sore players and add a few wrinkles while Alcovy suffered another loss to its already fragile offensive line.
"We had another injury so we're going to have to replace another lineman. Some of these young kids are going to have to step up," Hoffman said. "The thing we're going to have to do offensively is learn to stay on block a little bit longer and let some of our athletes get in the open spaces."
Tonight's match is going to be decided by who can keep the other team's key athletes from breaking loose and making the big plays.
While the Bulldogs have several weapons on the ground, their main threat is going to come from senior running back Aubrey Brown. However, the Tigers cannot crowd the line of scrimmage as quarterback Zuri Minnifield has the ability to throw the ball to several very capable receivers, including Mike Rozier and Christian Ship.
"They have a couple of athletes that when they get into an open space; they can run," Hoffman said. "Defensively, we're going to have to be real disciplined and keep some of those athletes from making big plays. We didn't do that well against Druid Hills so that's what we have to concentrate on this week."
With a front line that's being pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, Alcovy's offensive front has to hold its blocks long enough to create a seam for the backfield. If the Tigers can manage to get their running game going, it will make it easier to open up some passing patterns.
"We have to find a way to get our running game going," Hoffman said. "Right now, some of the best things we do is pass block. I think we're going to have to throw even more."