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Alcovy win could mean playoff berth

IF YOU GO

• Who: Alcovy Tigers (3-4 overall, 2-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) at Druid Hills Red Devils (2-5, 0-3)

• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

• Where: Avondale Stadium, Avondale Estates

• Last week: Druid Hills lost to Johnson, Gainesville 42-15; Alcovy beat Morrow 30-13

• Series: First meeting

COVINGTON -- A win by Alcovy against Druid Hills at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Avondale Stadium puts the Tigers in the Class AAAAAA playoffs. However, a win is not going to easy despite Druid Hills' record of 0-3 in Region 2-AAAAAA play.

Of course, Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman is not talking playoffs. He just wants to win this week and each week until the end of the regular season. Once the regular season has ended, then he'll be ready to talk playoffs.

"It (a win) puts us one step closer to the playoffs. It's like I told the kids, we need to worry about the next game and if we take care of our business we'll find out where we are in the playoffs," Hoffman said. "This season we started off with four phases. The scrimmage phase, then the nonregion, then region and playoffs. I told them that we need to play well enough to earn a region spot to make sure we get one of those four spots for the playoffs."

The Red Devils' region and 2-5 overall record is deceptive considering that they were contenders until late in the contest. Making Druid Hills a worthy opponent is the fact that it has the ability to move the ball in the air as well as it can on the ground. Against Newton, quarterback Ben Whealler was 16-of-24 for 214 passing yards. Druid Hills has been averaging 213 yards per game, 105 rushing and 108 passing.

When the Red Devils run the ball, Hassan Enis gets a bulk of the workload, having rushed for 276 yards on 64 carries. But the Tigers (3-4, 2-1) cannot focus on Enis, as Jaquan Johnson is capable of hurting them. He's gained 243 yards on 30 touches.

"They have some kids that can make some big-time plays. If we're looking ahead we're in big trouble. There's no doubt about it," Hoffman said. "We've got to play good football. We can't go out and let these guys hang around because if that happens, anything can happen in high school football."

Making the task more difficult is that Alcovy is playing with quite a few backup players due to injuries. Even though the backup players have done a good job so far, the Tigers are going to need for those players to continue to play at a high level.

"I feel like defensively we've played well enough to win ball games. If you look on that side, we're young. Now we've had two or three injuries that have forced kids to step up. When you have backup coming in, it's a learning curve for them. But they've played well and we're making stops when we need to," Hoffman said.

But the defense isn't the only part of the team that is being pieced together like a quilt. The offensive line has been hampered with injuries, making it difficult for it to jell. Without a front line that has experience playing together, it makes difficult to open holes for the running game and keep defenders from pressuring the quarterback in the passing game.

"Last week we didn't have Bret Dunn; the week before we didn't have some other kids. When you're doing patchwork it's hard to get that continuity and get them to jell. It seems like every week we're having to battle that part of it," Hoffman said. "We have some kids that are still injured but we're getting in there hopefully continuing to get better."