Alcovy’s Tristen Payne (5) tries to get away from a pair of Eastside defenders during the first half of Friday’s game at Homer Sharp Stadium. (Staff photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith)
COVINGTON — Alcovy quarterback Tristen Payne took the game into his own hands running the ball 39 times gaining 195 yards giving the Tigers a 20-10 win over county-rival Eastside at Homer Sharp Stadium on Friday.
“He’s a player; he’s a senior,” Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. “He’s been around and he’ll tell us if he needs a break. We have kids that can jump in there on defense and help us out also.”
Payne tucked the ball 15 times in the third quarter gaining 95 yards. He had 10 carry’s for 47 yards in the second quarter before slowing down in the fourth frame rushing eight times for 38 yards.
“They were giving it to us inside,” Hoffman said. “They brought those kids off the corner and we felt like we had to get that inside game.”
While Payne and the Alcovy (2-1) offense kept the Eagles (2-1) defense off balance, the Tigers defense kept Eastside’s offense from establishing a rhythm.
Eastside took an early lead on a 30-yard Jake Sheldon field goal. It looked like they were going to add on to their lead after a shanked punt gave the Eagles the ball on the Alcovy 35-yard line.
That was when Eastside’s defense rose to the occasion forcing the Eagles back 21 yards in three plays forcing them to punt the ball back to Alcovy.
The Tigers defense held Eastside’s running game to 22 yards on 30 carries with a second quarter where they lost 41 yards on nine touches.
Alcovy’s defense sacked Eastside quarterback Demario Terrell four times with Cameron Banks intercepting a pass.
“We had trouble with the front all night,” Eastside head coach Rick Hurst said. “We knew that coming in. We told our guys if we could block them we’d have a chance. We didn’t do a very good job the first half.”
It seemed like Alcovy’s defense sparked the offense. After pushing the Eagles out of their half of the field and forcing a punt in the second quarter, Payne marched the offense down the field for a touchdown. Payne found Toyous Jefferson open for a 23-yard score with 5:44 left in the half.
Following a three and out series by the Eagles to start the second half, Payne ran the ball six times gaining 52 yards four minutes into the second half.
Eastside tried to get back into the game but Banks’ interception gave the ball back to the Tigers on the Eastside 41-yard line. Payne took the ball to the 2-yard line before Okon Godwin punched it in for the score with 3:08 left in the third frame to take a 20-3 lead.
However, being a county rival game the Eagles were not about to give up. The Eagles offense put together a 12-play, 82-yard drive to make it 20-10. Terrell found freshman Austin Holloway in the endzone for an 18-yard touchdown.
Holloway led all Eastside receivers catching six passes for 86 yards. Terrell was 13-for-30 for 189 yards.
The Eagles kept the momentum with an onside kick recovered by Jamal Hardge.
Eastside almost changed the look of the game in the final five minutes when Terrell connected with Anthony Henderson fir a 5-yard touchdown which would have made the score 20-17 if not for the holding penalty.
The Eagles were penalized 12 times for 98 yards.
“We showed some grit in the fourth quarter and made a game out of it,” Hurst said. “It’s one game, we’re not worried about it. We wanted to win the county championship but that’s out the window. So now it’s time to move on to (Region) 8-AAAA.”
The Eagles found themselves staring at a first and goal situation from the 16-yard line. Terrell was able to put the ball back on the 5-yard line for fourth down following an 11-yard run. However, Alcovy’s defense had all the receiver covered allowing Adams to sack Terrell giving the ball back to the Tigers offense.
“I told the kids come Saturday we’re 0-0 in our region and they’re 0-0 in their region,” Hoffman said.