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Alcovy falls to Mt. Zion 32-15 on the road
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The Mt. Zion-Jonesboro Bulldogs hosted the Alcovy Tigers at Tara Stadium Friday night in a game with strong regional implications.  The Tigers (4-4, 3-3 Region 4-AAAA) had their sights set on taking third place in the region, but it was the Bulldogs (6-3, 5-2) who moved into second with a 32-15 victory. Few fans were cheering on either side of the stadium in the rain and bitter cold, and it was a rocky start for both teams with the weather seemingly having negative effects early on. Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman didn't think the weather could be blamed for his team's performance. "Two teams had to play in the same conditions," Hoffman said. "People want to use the weather, but you still have to snap the football, run, tackle, and play defense and offense." After a few slippery incomplete passes and quick turnovers on both sides, the Bulldogs scored when Josh King slipped past the Tigers' defense, making the score 7-0. But the Tigers refused to be outdone. Rod Tolen carried the ball 46 yards to the 26-yard line, giving Malachi Outlaw the chance to score with 50 seconds left in the quarter. At the end of the first quarter the Tigers and the Bulldogs had proved to be equally matched with a tie of 7-7. Mt. Zion wasted no time in taking over the lead, scoring a 63-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. After failing to gain the extra point, the Bulldogs led 13-7 with 11:47 left. "We had way too many turnovers," Hoffman said of his team's start. "We made way too many mental errors early." Alcovy had a strong defense, but it still allowed its opponent to score. Offensively, the Tigers made a few critical errors throughout the game. With the ball in their possession with 9:15 remaining in the half, the Tigers drove 77 yards to the 5-yard line and seemed ready to score. They needed one more yard on the fourth down, but unfortunately for them an incomplete pass resulted in a 14 yard loss and a turnover to the Bulldogs. Mt. Zion quickly scored again when Quartterio Morgan rushed 70 yards, and King scored a 7-yard touchdown. Alcovy's defense was no match for the Bulldogs' speed Mt. Zion led 19-7 at halftime. By the third quarter, the rain had subsided into a weak drizzle. In contrast, the Tigers came back out ready to fight and hoped to make a comeback. Alcovy quickly took the ball from Mt. Zion, but despite their defensive efforts, the Tigers' offense was lacking. They were forced to punt on fourth down. After the 7-yard punt, Mt. Zion managed to carry the ball 60 yards for a touchdown to make the score 25-7 in favor of the home team. With the ball back in Alcovy's possession, Tolen waited too long to pass to his teammates and threw the ball away. Shortly after, Tolen redeemed himself by scoring a 26-yard touchdown with help from Outlaw, who rushed 29 yards in two plays. After a two-point conversion, the  Bulldogs led 25-15 with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter.The Tigers tried hard to come back, but Mt. Zion held their ground throughout the fourth quarter and added a 56-yard touchdown.  With the score at 32-15 and the ball in Alcovy's possession, The Tigers didn't do much with it and Mt. Zion quickly regained possession. For the final minute of the game, the Bulldogs stalled and ran the clock down securing their victory. Hoffman told his team that they were all winners and that there wasn't a team in their region they couldn't defeat, but he admitted that they just weren't ready to play. "[The Bulldogs] came out ready to play," he said. "We just made too many mistakes. You just can't make those kinds of mistakes and win." However, the Tigers played hard and never gave up. "We weren't able to bounce back, but we're going to learn from this," Hoffman added. "We're going to learn from this, and we're going to get better."