COVINGTON, Ga. -- For the second week in a row, the Alcovy Tigers will lock horns against a Class AAAAAAA football team. This time it's next door neighbor Rockdale that will come to Sharp Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff Thursday night. It's a game that pits a pair of squads against each other that have some familiarity, as both Alcovy and Rockdale shared the same region for quite some time.
Here's a primer to get you ready for what to expect in tonight's non-region battle.
The Matchup: Rockdale Bulldogs (0-1) at Alcovy Tigers (0-1). Both teams will come into Sharp Stadium looking for a get-back game in this one, as Rockdale fell 27-14 to Eagle's Landing in its season opener, while Alcovy lost 37-3 against Newton last Friday in a weather-shortened contest at Sharp. But unlike last week, the skies should be pretty clear with a partly cloud forecast and temperatures in the low 80s. It'll be the first meeting between the two schools since 2015, and the seventh matchup overall. The all-time series is tied at three games apiece, as Rockdale defeated Alcovy 25-6 in the teams' last meeting. Both squads have new coaches and new talent since then, with coach Chris Edgar now in his third year at the helm for Alcovy, and Jamie Baldwin taking over in his first season after replacing Greg Manior.
The When and Where: Thursday August 23, 7 p.m. at Sharp Stadium, Covington.
The Key Players: Now that we’ve got a game of real-live action under our belts, we have a more defined look at who’s who. Despite a lopsided loss to Newton last week, Alcovy defined and re-defined some playmakers such as DE Jalen Banks who was all over the place, particularly in that first half. Linebacker Logan Wyatt’s presence popped on film as well. Also, Natorian Holloway was responsible for pretty much any big play on offense Alcovy was able to muster, has he collected 64 rushing yards against Newton. Coach Edgar says the return of WR MJ Stroud should bolster the passing game for QB Nick Simmons.
For Rockdale, there’s no shortage of athletes. QB Justin Steele has speed to go with a solid arm, and his favorite target, WR David Baros, had a 51-yard touchdown catch against Eagle’s Landing last week that showed off his game-breaking speed.
Rockdale wins…If it can keep Alcovy’s run game from getting untracked. That’s likely what Alcovy will try to establish first. And then offensively, if the Bulldogs get more consistent quarterback play that regularly puts the ball in the hands of young but capable skill guys, it stands a chance.
Alcovy wins…If Holloway and the Tigers’ big offensive line are able to push Rockdale around a bit. The effective running game that will likely follow should aid its passing game that’s still largely a work in progress. Defensively, Alcovy must limit busted coverages and mental mistakes while continuing to fly to the football.
The Prediction: There’s no such thing as “must-win” games in Week 2 of a 10-game schedule, especially when you’re talking non-region football. But from a confidence standpoint, a hard-fought, competitive contest should ensue, as both Alcovy and Rockdale want to erase the taste of last week’s losses from their palates. Look for Alcovy to ride a solid running game, a few timely passes and a fast defense to a win tonight. Score: Alcovy 24, Rockdale 10.