As the end of the season approaches, the Alcovy Tigers looked to make one last push for the playoffs as the Panthers of Forest Park visited Homer Sharp Stadium Friday.
In desperate need of a win, the Tigers (5-4, 4-3 Region 4-AAAA) came out with their guns blazing as they rode the back of Malachi Outlaw to a 38-21 victory.
Outlaw, who rushed for a game high 165 yards, became the first ever Tiger to break the 1,000 yard barrier after he broke off two big runs in the first half.
"I came up short last year so a 1,000 yards was my goal for the season," Outlaw said.
In the first possession of the game, the Tigers received the kickoff and marched the length of the field for a quick 7-0 lead.
It was the running of Outlaw and quarterback Rod Tolen who were able to chip away at the Panthers’ defense to eventually set up a 2- yard touchdown run for Tolen.On Forest Park’s ensuing possession, the Tigers’ defense made a direct statement letting the Panthers know they were going to be there all night as Matt Gunnells forced a punt after he dropped Forest Park quarterback Regginald Lewis for a sack and a 7-yard loss.
Only needing one play to score their second touchdown of the game, Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman dialed up Outlaws number and asked him to do some magic.
After being stood up at the line, Outlaw wiggled loose, only to be stood up again by the linebackers, before he shed two more tackles on his way to a 76-yard touchdown run with 2:57 left in the first quarter.
Adding another three points to the score board off a 42-yard field goal by Kyle Vojtesak, the Tigers were in the driver seat with three quarters left to play.
Looking to put the game away early, Hoffman stuck to his guns as the running game seemed to be unstoppable.
On the fifth offensive possession for the Tigers, Tolen was able to break off a 42-yard run that set up freshman DeVon Edwards 5- yard touchdown run to gave Alcovy a 24-0 lead.
With the offense putting on a clinic, it was time for the defense to put on a show of its own.
After a good kickoff by Vojtesak, the Tiger defense showed why they are so tough.
On first down, Jamal Toney was able to sack the quarterback for a 9-yard loss that set up a long second down for the Panthers.
Looking to get all the yards back in one play, Lewis dropped back and threw a perfect strike to Alcovy defensive back Jamaree James who was able to return the pick to the Panthers’ 9-yard line.
Tolen took it in from nine yards out to give the Tigers a 31-0 halftime lead.
On the first drive of the second half, Lewis threw his third interception of the game as James came up with his second pick to give the Tigers the ball.
Not getting away from the game plan, the Tigers continued to ride the back of Outlaw as he scampered for a 22-yard run, followed by a 14-yard touchdown run.
After reaching a point in the game where he felt comfortable, Hoffman gave way to his younger athletes to get them some game experience.
Giving up 21 unanswered points, Alcovy’s second team was able to hold off the Panthers for another quarter to pick up the victory.
"We knew they had a great quarterback who wanted to spread the ball around," Hoffman said. "We knew that our defense would have to contain him, and they did. They played great and our offense stuck to the game plan."