Focus is key is Tigers prevent repeat against Red Devils

COVINGTON — All Alcovy has to do it look at last year’s calender if they need motivation for their homecoming game against Druid Hills today at 7 p.m. at Homer Sharp Stadium.

Last season, the Tigers (5-2 overall, 2-1 Region 2-AAAAAA) were in the same position they are this year with a region record of 2-1 and eyeing the possibility of hosting a playoff game. That was when the Red Devils (3-4, 0-3) surprised Alcovy beating them 28-21.

“One of the things I’ve kept reminding our kids is that this team snuck up on us last year. We can’t go into any game taking a team lightly,” Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. “We did that last year and we let Druid Hills beat us last year. Hopefully, we’ve learned from experience. One of the greatest learning lessons is what’s happened to you in the past. There are still a lot of kids on this team that were on that team last year when we just didn’t play well. They’re a good enough team that if you don’t play well they can beat you.”

Alcovy is not going to let Druid Hills’ record give them a false sense of security. The Red Devils have the ability and the athletes to score quickly and often. The problem is that they hurt themselves with turnovers at the worst possible time or penalties that stop their momentum.

“They’ve got some athletes and they’re pretty well coached. If they get on a roll or start clicking then their a dangerous team,” Hoffman said.

For the Tigers to prevent a repeat of last season’s game they have to maintain focus hold on to the ball. But more importantly, they have to keep penalties from making it difficult to score. In previous games, Alcovy found themselves looking at a first and goal only to end up trying for a field goal with the ball sitting outside the redzone.

“We’ve got to take care of our own stuff. A lot of the mistakes are hustle mistakes. I don’t think it’s kids not knowing what to do, it’s just that we’ve made mistakes at the wrong time,” Hoffman said. “Defensively, we have to make sure we tackle. If we miss tackles we’ll be in trouble.”

The Tigers showed their ability to move the ball and score using the running game behind Tristen Payne and Jared Farley. After a few games, teams started crowding the line making it easier for Payne to find his favorite receiver in Jaylin Penny. Now teams are not sure what they need to do to stop Alcovy’s offense from averaging more than three touchdowns a game.

“What we have to do is take what teams will give us,” Hoffman said. “If you look early in the year teams tried to force us to throw and we had a little success. Now teams are starting to take away the passing game and we’re having to run the football.”