Alcovy battling Cougars, clock in first round of playoffs

If you go

• Who: Alcovy Tigers (4-6) at Newnan Cougars (8-2)

• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

• Where: Drake Stadium, Newnan

• Last week: Alcovy lost 56-0 to Lovejoy; Newnan beat East Coweta 21-7

• Series: First meeting

COVINGTON — Time management could be the key as Alcovy travels to Newnan in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Teams have been able to score against Newnan (8-2) as the Cougars defense has been averaging 17 points a game with only one shutout, 24-0 to Westlake, this season. While Alcovy (4-6) needs to establish its running game in order to manage the clock, the Cougars also like to run the ball, giving their opponents little time to score.

“They’ll line up and try to come right at you and hopefully hit you with a pass here and there to keep you honest and keep the secondary honest and try not let them get up and help on the run,” Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said.

Keeping the Cougars offense rolling are running backs Quinton Dix and JK Britt. The duo averages a combined 12 yards per carry. Dix, who is their main workhorse, ran the ball 153 times for 812 yards while scoring seven of Newnan’s 15 rushing touchdowns. Britt has the second most carries with 77 touches for 516 yards and four touchdowns.

Britt also comes out of the backfield and is used in passing pattern with 20 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. The main receivers for the Cougars are Tray Matthews, 29 for 528 yards and six touchdowns, and Traon Moss who has 25 catches for 569 yards and six touchdowns.

Newnan quarterback Bailey Bryant has thrown for 1,440 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes, going 92-for-141 while throwing for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions.

When the Tigers run the ball, they have to make sure that they know of the whereabouts of linebackers Tonarius Portress and Cameron Walker. While Portress leads the team in total tackles with 57, Walker causes a lot of commotion in the backfield with three sacks and 10 of his 29 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

“They do a good job of getting hats on the ball carrier. What we’re going to have to do is find a way to stay on block and not turn the football over,” Hoffman said. “I feel good about our kids understanding what needs to be done.

“One of the biggest thing that’s hurt us offensively is the amount of injuries. We can never get anything gelling, and when we start we get a key injury. A lot of teams are like that this late in the season. But offensively for us we have to control the clock a little bit more.”

One thing that the Tigers can use is that for the first time in school history the football team has made it to the playoffs in consecutive seasons, having hosted last year. Hoffman is hoping that his players will use this experience to help them prepare.

“I feel fortunate to have a group coming back from a playoff team last year,” Hoffman said. “What our kids understand is that with the playoffs here it’s a new season and everybody has to bring their A-game.”