After a few months absence, football fever has filled the humid, Newton County air as fans of both the Alcovy Tigers and Newton Rams filed in to Homer Sharp Stadium this past Saturday for their Georgia High School Association sanctioned spring game.
Before the game started, a rain delay would threaten the chances of the game happening as severe thunderstorms pounded the area for a little over an hour, causing the initial 6 p.m. start time to be pushed back to around 7:30.
As the fans hit the stands and the players hit the field, excitement filled the air as the community got its first taste of football action, serving as a preview for each team's upcoming season later in the fall. The Tigers came into the game looking for an upset against a highly physical Newton team as well as to make a statement that they are heading in the right direction. This, however, would not be the case as they fell to Newton 27-0 in a game where several factors caused the Tigers to be on the wrong end of a spring scrimmage rout.
Here are 5 things that I noticed about Saturday night’s action from the Alcovy perspective….
The Tigers lost at the line of scrimmage on defense. It started at the very beginning of the game when three runs by Newton’s rising senior running back Nuru Tinch, went for 35 yards followed by a quick pass that turned into a big TD play. It would only be a preview of what was to come for the Alcovy D-line as Tinch, junior tailback Adarius Thomas and even quarterback Myron Middlebrooks all would run wild throughout the game as the Tigers struggled to stop the run.
They lost at the line on the offensive side, too. Just like the defensive line, the Tigers’ offensive line struggled in multiple aspects. On run plays, the blockers seemed unable to get to their assignments fast enough. Pulling guards and tackles failed to seal the edge to allow sweep plays and outside-the-tackle runs to develop for any positive yardage. Runs between the tackles often times got stuck as the Rams loaded the box to stuff the Tigers rush efforts. In the passing game, it seemed as if nobody could pick up the Rams’ relentless blitzing that got to rising junior quarterback Cameron Anderson on multiple occasions. This failure to pick up the blitz disrupted the passing game, often resulting in sacks as well as multiple three-and-outs for Alcovy.
Personnel issues were a critical mistake. Imagine this: Alcovy is lining up for a punt, except they have 12 men on the field. How about Alcovy trying to run an offensive play, yet they were missing an offensive tackle. It’s one thing when it happens once or twice. But such miscues happened quite a few times during the course of the game, as miscommunication caused confusion when trying to get the correct amount of players on the field. Edgar noted this stating that dressing 80 players as opposed to the usual 50 for varsity perhaps was the root of the confusion.
Okay, that's enough of the negative. I promise there are still plenty of positives to this young team.
There are still playmakers galore on this team. While the offensive and defensive lines may need some offseason work, there are still several playmakers for the Tigers at the skill positions, most notably on the offensive side. Rising sophomore twins Andrae and Adrian Robinson are a pair of explosive running backs that have the potential to be an explosive one-two punch in the backfield as well as in the slot receiver position. Quindrelin Hammonds, who is arguably their top player and team leader, seems as if he can do it all. He will likely spend some time at quarterback for the Tigers, but isn't afraid to line up as a receiver. He also took a few handoffs as a tailback Saturday. He will do anything the coaches ask him to do, and will still shine in whatever position he plays, and that's a huge plus for the Tigers.
Coach Edgar remains optimistic. Despite the loss, Edgar is upbeat heading into the summer. His post game speech addressed the problems of the night, but also retained a message of not losing hope for this young Tiger squad. With a lot of summer work — including a trip to the annual Cam Newton 7-on-7 tournament in early June — Edgar is confident his team will be moving in the right direction come August.