COVINGTON -- The main question facing Alcovy's struggling offense is can it find its rhythm while keeping Eastside's potent defense on its heels in the county-rival game today at 7:30 p.m. at Homer Sharp Stadium.
The Eagles (2-0) are coming off back-to-back wins with defensive touchdowns while keeping their opponents to just over 150 yards of total offense. Alcovy's (0-2) offense made too many mistakes which the other team took advantage of in both of its losses.
At stake in tonight's game is the county championship. A win by Eastside secures the championship after beating Newton, while a win by Alcovy puts the Tigers in the driver's seat as they still have to play Newton in a Region 2-AAAAAA contest.
"It's going to be a defensive game and whoever can find something to take advantage of on the offensive side will have a better chance to win the game," Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said.
Both teams have quality offensive players; the problem is that both offenses are their own worst enemy. In order for the Eagles to turn things around, they must hang on to the ball on pass plays and hit the hole at full speed on running plays.
"We have to do a better job of staying with our blocks and we have to do a better job of hitting the holes when we see them," Hurst said. "It's nothing more than concentration and taking care of the football. A lot of it is trying to run before we catch it."
The Tigers offense tends to hurt itself with penalties and turnovers. If it can find a way to eliminate those, the Alcovy offense could test the Eagles defense in a way they have not been tested this season."One of the things we've been working hard on this week is ball security," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. "There are times when we've looked pretty good on offense, then we have a penalty or a turnover. We have to get better at that phase."Even though Alcovy has a relatively solid defense, it still has to be prepared for Eastside's potentially explosive no-huddle offense. Even though it's not an offensive style that the Tigers see a lot, they still have seen it and know how to defend it. To stop Eastside's offense, each Tiger is going to have to be at his assigned location.
"We have to be disciplined, there's no doubt about it," Hoffman said. "We have to make sure they take the gaps and we're all on the same coverage."
Unlike last year, when Alcovy relied heavily on its running game, this year the Tigers are more two dimensional, giving Eastside's defense more to focus on stopping.
"Their running game worries me with that quarterback and that back. We have to make sure we're reading our keys and getting to the right spot or they'll make us look bad," Hurst said. "We played against (Cornell) White last year and the thing I've noticed different from last year is he throws the ball better. Now he's more of a two-way threat."