NEWNAN — Alcovy had a chance to win its first outright region title Friday and a No. 1 seed heading into this week’s opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs. After a 42-13 dismantling at the hands of Northgate, losing the region championship might be the last thing on the Tigers’ minds.
The Tigers were unable to stop the Vikings in the first half and looked unprepared as Northgate scored 35 points in a span of a quarter and a half and gouged Alcovy’s defense for big play after big play. The Tigers must regroup as they head into their home playoff game after their worst overall performance this year and face an 8-2 Tri-Cities team in the opening round.
In the beginning it looked like Alcovy was poised for a good battle. After surviving a long opening kickoff thanks to Okon Godwin’s interception, the Tigers scored first on Devon Edwards’ 45-yard run midway through the opening quarter. But things quickly took a turn for the worst.
The Vikings roared back with 35 unanswered points over the next 18 minutes and led 35-7 at the half.
The Tigers were unable to stop Northgate’s rushing attack. The Vikings marched down the field on its ensuing possession after Edwards’ score to knot it up at 7-7. The Vikings went 80 yards in 10 plays — all on the ground with running backs Alex Lakes and Payton Usher taking turns with the carries. The tandem ran for a combined 278 yards.
After the Tigers turned a third-and-1 into a third-and-6 thanks to a procedure penalty and were forced to punt, Northgate struck again. Lakes fielded the punt at midfield and broke several tackles before finally being corralled inside the Vikings’ 5. Lakes finished it off two plays later on the ground and Northgate led 14-7 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.
After a Cornell White interception, the two teams traded punts. On Northgate’s next possession, Lakes got free again before Edwards ran him down at the 5 to save a touchdown.
Edwards’ play only delayed the inevitable as the Vikings scored on Usher’s 2-yard run. After another seemingly easy scoring drive, Northgate landed the knockout punch on the final play of the first half.
The Vikings lined up as if they were going to take a knee after getting the ball back with 13 seconds left in the second quarter but instead broke out of the formation and hit a 47-yard pass play in the end zone with no time on the clock. Quarterback Bret Misutka found a streaking Brandon Facyson as time expired.
The Tigers tried in vain to get back in the game in the third quarter but after a drive fizzled out on a failed fourth down conversion, the Vikings scored again and Alcovy pulled its starters. The two teams played with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Reserve quarterback Jay Penny hit Clayton Anderson late on a touchdown pass for Alcovy’s final score. The Tigers went for two but were unable to convert.
Alcovy’s listless performance wasn’t the end all, be all. The Tigers are the No. 2 seed from the region and will play at home next week in the opening round of the playoffs. They’ll look to put Friday’s loss firmly in the review mirror as they seek the school's first playoff win ever. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.