LITHONIA, Ga. — Miller Grove proved itself a formidable opponent to the Alcovy Tigers during its Friday scrimmage — a 20-7 loss to the Wolverines.
So did playing on a field that, with its many dents and divots, only got worse with a torrential downpour that began at halftime and stretched into the early parts of the third quarter.
But all those things were no match for the Tigers’ toughest opponent, not just in Friday’s scrimmage, but ongoing.
That opponent would be themselves.
“It’s about our discipline,” Edgar said. “Lack of it can cost you ballgames. (Friday night) it’s just a scrimmage, but if some of those things happen to us next week, it could become the difference between a win and a loss.”
Some of the miscues came, mostly in the second half. One happened when an Alcovy defender tackled the Miller Grove quarterback on a 3rd-and-long play. The reason why it was called a penalty is because quarterbacks are considered “dead” during scrimmage play — meaning the play is dead for a ball carrying quarterback when he is simply touched.
“In a regular game, it wouldn’t have been a penalty,” Edgar said. “But it’s still one of those things where you have to understand the situations and be disciplined in them.”
It was the other flags that raised Edgar’s ire. Several times throughout the game, both an Alcovy and Miller Grove player was called for personal foul penalties after some pushing and shoving took place. Edgar drew back on some of the 2016 team’s experiences to highlight the importance of cleaning those issues up.
“As the season unfolded last year, there were some moments when those kinds of penalties and lack of discipline resulted in points for the other team,” he said. “And some of that happened in this game as well. It’s that kind of stuff we’re really going to address this week as we get ready for Duluth.”
There were things that gave the second year coach and his staff reason to smile, though.
In all actuality, Alcovy slightly outplayed Miller Grove through much of the first half, taking a 7-6 lead into halftime. The Tigers got on the board when junior quarterback Cameron Anderson found Jairus Anthony in the left corner of the end zone for a 30-yard scoring strike to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Several drives later, Miller Grove took things to the ground and scored a response touchdown on a drive that featured almost all running plays. The Wolverines missed the extra point, keeping them down by a point at halftime.
At halftime, a rain storm broke out, drenching the field and sending the Alcovy band and fans and cheerleaders from both teams running for cover. Once the third quarter began, Miller Grove ran around right end and streaked down the sideline for a long touchdown run to put Miller Grove up 13-7, although by that time, many of Alcovy’s second stringers and reserves had entered the game.
When the junior varsity players came in, Miller Grove would add one more touchdown late to provide the final score.
Despite that, Edgar was upbeat regarding how his top units played — particularly the offensive line, considered a weakness of the team after being thrashed against Newton in the spring game.
There were several times Alcovy showed strength in the trenches, including a pair of first half runs by senior Quindrelin Hammonds where the line pushed Miller Grove back some, and Hammonds ran tough, carrying several Wolverine defenders with him.
In every way, Alcovy seemed up for the challenge against a bigger foe, and it proved for Edgar that real progress has been made during the offseason.
“I thought in the first half, our No. 1s played well,” Edgar said. “We made some slips a bit. When the rain came, it made for some very sloppy conditions, but I was really pleased with the No. 1s and how they competed.”
But he couldn’t praise his team long before harping on the discipline issue again.
“What I’m very disappointed in are, again, those discipline things,” he continued. “Those things kill you in the regular season.”
Edgar said he and his staff kept things very vanilla, especially on offense during the scrimmage, which he acknowledges, “probably hindered our offense a bit.” But the playbook will be wide open when Duluth comes calling next Friday in the Tigers’ season opener at Homer Sharp Stadium.
“We definitely kept back some things, but we won’t do that next week,” he said.”
Duluth finished the 2016 season with a 2-8 record. Alcovy beat the Wildcats 27-19 on the road in both teams’ season opener.