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Posted: September 20, 2012 10:03 p.m.

Hoffman returns to Jackson

Anthony Banks/

Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman grew up in the same community as Jackson coach, and today's competition, Mike Parris.

Alcovy entered the Eastside game last Friday needing to overcome an early season hurdle in order to pick up its first win.

The Tigers did just that in limiting turnovers, going from seven throughout the first two weeks to just one in a 24-10 win over their cross-county rivals at Sharp Stadium.

Now, going into the season's fourth week with Alcovy's first chance at back-to-back wins, the Tigers still have some more to work on as what coach Kirk Hoffman calls "phase two" of the season or Region 2-AAAAAA play begins in a week.

Chief among needed improvement is the offense, which put up 158 yards against Eastside.

"We still need to get a lot better on offense," Hoffman said.

The Tigers, who had their highest scoring output against Eastside, have a daunting task in providing more offensive firepower in the matchup at Jackson. The Red Devils (2-1), not only gave up just six points in a 37-6 win over Monticello last week but were also a top-10 ranked team entering the season and possess two Division I defensive lineman.

"Defensively they've got a very senior-loaded team with two defensive linemen committed, one to Vanderbilt and one to Georgia Tech," Hoffman said. "Offensively it's going to be a good test for us."

Adding to the test is an opposing coach with inside information.

Jackson coach Mike Parris has not only been with the Red Devils since 1996, but he also worked with Jackson's then-offensive coordinator Kirk Hoffman. The Alcovy and Jackson coached worked together while Hoffman was there from 1997-99.

Their relationship, however, goes much further beyond their time at Jackson, as the two football coaches have known each other almost their whole lives. Hoffman and Parris grew up together playing in the same little leagues and even going to Clarkston High together for one year.

Hoffman, who was one school year ahead of Parris, was closer friends with his Parris' older brother but still grew up around the Jackson coach as schoolmates until Parris went to Redan after redistricting.

The two still talk frequently and did so Monday at a GHSA meeting and Wednesday to finalize things such as the time of Friday's game, but they didn't give away any strategies or engage in any friendly give-and-take about who will win or lose.

Hoffman said the coaches' relationship hasn't trickled down to have any effect on the players either.

"I think some of them know I coached there, but I don't think it's been an issue," We're telling our kids that No. 1, they're a good football team, and No. 2 it's the next game on the schedule," he said.

It's also another chance for the Tigers to show Hoffman that they've overcome their turnover struggles. The team spent most of last week working on holding on to the ball after giving it away so much on what Hoffman called, "effort turnovers."

The work in practice proved productive against Eastside, but its something the Tigers will continue to work on throughout the season with region play just around the corner.

"That's one thing about high school football, you get a limited number of possessions. If you turn the ball over that limited number gets a lot smaller," Hoffman said. "It wasn't a problem with technique, we had tipped balls getting intercepted and those thigns are going to happen in the game. We've got to hold on to the football; that's a huge factor and each week we've gotten better at it."

 

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