The Alcovy Tigers earned their first win of the season on Friday night against non-region opponent Perry, taming the Panthers 21-10 at Sharp Stadium.
Alcovy dictated the game on both sides of the ball, winning in impressive fashion.
Senior quarterback Tristen Payne dominated the game offensively, using his passing and his feet to demoralize Perry's defense.
Alcovy's offense found the right gear on the Tigers' first drive of the game. Payne gained big chunks of yards running the football down the field, while also connecting with Alcovy receivers Jaylin Penny and Jared Farley on the first drive.
Payne punched in a 3-yard run for a touchdown to end the Tigers' opening drive, giving Alcovy an early 7-0 lead.
“I just act like I’m in the backyard,” Payne said. “I just want to make plays and do what I can to help the team win.”
Perry responded after the Tigers' first score, cutting the Tigers' lead to just four. Perry’s quarterback Dylan Griger connected with receivers Trae Harris and Jake Farrell before hitting wideout K.J. Smith for a 43-yard bomb that pushed the Panthers deep into Alcovy territory.
Perry made it to Alcovy’s 1-yard line, but, the Tigers' defense held and made a goal-line stand that forced Perry to kick a 29-yard field goal with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Alcovy’s defense also showed its skills with less than one minute left in the first half. Perry looked to get a score before half, but the Panthers' offense backfired, as Griger threw an interception to Alcovy defensive back Robert Bullard. Bullard returned the errant pass 30 yards for an Alcovy touchdown, pushing the Tigers' lead to 14-3 at halftime.
Alcovy continued its dominance in the second half, limiting the Panthers to just a single touchdown over the final two quarters.
Griger threw a second interception deep in his own territory to Alcovy’s Okon Goodwin, and after the turnover, Goodwin punched in a 1-yard touchdown, which put the nail in the coffin for Perry.
Perry’s Smith scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass with less than five minutes left in the game, but, it was a little too late for the Panthers, as Alcovy clinched the game 21-10.
Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman said that the Tigers still need to get better and that the team has yet to reach its full potential, even in the win.
“We just need to get better,” Hoffman said. “We just have to keep getting better and try to be hitting on all cylinders come region (play)."
The win over Perry evened the all-time series between the two programs at 1-1. Perry toppled the Tigers 29-17 a season ago.
The Tigers return to action next week at Homer Sharp Stadium against Eastside.