COVINGTON, Ga. — Coming into their homecoming and pink out game against Region 3-AAAAAA foe the Heritage Patriots, the Alcovy Tigers knew that the window was closing fast on their playoff hopes, and that a win in this game would keep them somewhat in the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, the Tigers’ offensive woes continued to haunt them, despite a change at quarterback, en route to a 17-0 shutout loss against the Patriots, their third offensive shutout of the season.
Despite the loss, head coach Chris Edgar believed that the team showed signs of life.
“They fought this week,” he said. “After our last two games, that’s what we challenged them to do, and they fought and fought and fought, even when some odds were stacked up against them in my opinion.”
The fight from the team was portrayed mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Despite the final score showing a 17-0 defeat, the defense only allowed ten of those points, which came on drives where it was backed up from the start.
“Our defense played a heck of a game,” Edgar said. “They held them to 10 points. I’m proud of the way they fought.”
Both teams started the game trading fruitless possessions as both offenses could not find any rhythm. But when the Patriots missed on an early field goal, it looked as if the Tigers we’re going to do something big with that momentum.
Or so they thought.
On the next Alcovy possession, quarterback Jaelen Campbell threw his first of three interceptions of the night to the Patriots’ standout athlete, Devron Harper.
Campbell was not the quarterback who initially got the start in the game, though.
On the first Tiger possession, Nick Simmons, who suffered a torn UCL last week against Lakeside, trotted out in full gear, clad with an elbow brace.
He attempted one pass and did not see the field for the rest of the game.
“The doctor said he couldn’t play,” Edgar said. “That kid has got the heart of a lion, and I hope we can get him back and let him play the next couple of weeks.”
Simmons might be all the Tigers need to provide some sort of spark on offense as the season’s final weeks progress.
After the Patriots went up 10 points due to another good starting spot, Campbell would throw a 45-yard pick six to Terrence Williams to put Heritage up 17.
Devron Harper, who would become a headache for the Tigers on both sides of the ball, would intercept another Campbell pass for his second of the game, and that is when the coaches elected to make a change in the signal caller spot.
Out came Javari Smith whose typically played receiver and defense. And although he showed flashes, his lack of snaps at quarterback, along with facing pressure on every snap, was enough to keep Alcovy scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Embattled with a tough decision at quarterback, if Simmons is not ready to go, Edgar will have to use next week’s practice time to evaluate who he thinks needs to be on the field in that spot.
“Javari practiced this week at receiver and defense, but he didn’t get a lot of looks at quarterback,” he said. “We’ve also got a young guy that we’re kind of grooming, but we’re going to make that evaluation on Sunday as a staff and see who gives us the best chance against Evans.”
Falling to 2-6 on the season, the Tigers are still not fully out of playoff contention just yet, although they will need to win their last two games against two of the region’s toughest opponents in Evans and Greenbrier.
Although some players hung their heads in dejection, Edgar wanted to make sure they knew that they have everything to play for in front of them, and that the season is not over yet.
“I told them I was proud of the way they fought,” he said. “You know, last week, we didn’t fight at all. I said, ‘Now guys, we’ve got two weeks. Some of you in here are going to want to quit, and if you do, no hard feelings.
“’But the ones that want to get better in these next two weeks, be there, pay attention, get focused, lock in, and work hard, and we’ll see what happens after those two weeks.’”