Committing four turnovers and eight penalties is a difficult way to start the football season.
Unfortunately for the Alcovy Tigers those miscues happened to them in Thursday night's 21-16 loss to Jones County at Sharp Stadium. Fortunately for Alcovy, however, was the fact that it was a non-region game, with three more out-of-league contests to go thanks to the Georgia High School Association's reclassification.
Along with the turnovers and penalties, there were also plenty of positives for Alcovy.
"I was proud how we handled the adversity, we got down but we battled back," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman said. "We still made too many mistakes."
The Tigers overcame three holding penalties on their first two drives, forcing Jones County (1-0) to punt from its own 34-yard line. The snap was bad and Alcovy recovered on the Greyhounds' 15-yard line.
After two runs, Alcovy went to the air with Senior quarterback Marcus Williams throwing to junior Jaylin Penny for an 18-yard touchdown.
Williams started some games for the Tigers in 2011, and was given the nod as the opening game starter by Hoffman after what was, at times, a four-quarterback race.
Williams had two big passes - the touchdown, along with a 35-yard throw in the fourth quarter - and a big 35-yard scramble to show promise coming this season. He also overcame some poor passes as he threw three interceptions, along with a fumble for a loss.
The Tigers went to the air more, giving Williams opportunities for both touchdowns and interceptions.
"We threw the ball a little more than you've probably seen," Hoffman said. "I've got a lot of confidence, I think we can throw it, and we've got pretty good receivers. When they're going to pack the box in and stop the running game, we have to be able to throw it.
"I think Marcus did an outstanding job. We made a couple of key misreads, that's why we have to get better."
Williams first interception began a key sequence of events for the Greyhounds that would begin a rally from a 10-0 deficit.
After Jones County picked up the second-quarter interception on the Tigers 48-yard line, Alcovy shut them down with a 7-yard loss and a sack for an 8-yard loss to set up third-and-25 from the 37.
However, the Tigers let one slip by as Jones County peeled off a 53-yard screen pass to put the Greyhounds on the Alcovy 8-yard line.
From there, they handed it off twice to Undre Williams for the touchdown. It was the first of three touchdowns for Williams, who has received offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Oregon, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
Undre Williams' first score came with 32.6 seconds left in the first half, after Rysen Richardson kicked a 30-yard field goal to give Alcovy a 10-0 lead with 9:35 left in the second quarter.
That momentum carried through to the second half as Undre Williams scored on an 8-yard run with 7:50 left in the third quarter and on a 32-yard run 18 seconds into the fourth.
Jones County kept the Tigers' defense on the field throughout much of the second half, either with long drives or by its defense grabbing turnovers.
But throughout it Alcovy's defense continued to attack the Greyhounds, forcing a punt from their own 10-yard line. Alcovy turned the good field position into a touchdown after Marcus Williams hit Cornell White for a 35-yard pass.
Chris Spleen then ran it in from four yards, and Alcovy's conversion attempt failed for the final score.
However, the Tigers looked like they could threaten again when they turned a Jones County third-and-14 into a fourth-and-26 deep from within Greyhounds' territory thanks to a sack by Leroy Robinson and Benton Curtiss.
On the ensuing punt Alcovy pressured the punter to the point, where it almost got the block but instead ran into the punter giving Jones County a first-down and the ability to run out the clock.
"It's like I told (our players), in the past when we got down we kind of hung our heads," Hoffman said. "Tonight we got down and bounced back a little bit. That shows a little of what this team is made of."
Alcovy will continue to build upon that resolve with non-region matchups against Perry Sept. 7, Eastside Sept. 14 and Jackson Sept. 21 before entering Region 2-AAAAAA play against Luella on Sept. 28.
"We just keep getting better these four non-regions and I'll feel pretty good about region (play)," Hoffman said.