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PREP FOOTBALL: Alcovy forces multiple turnovers, blanks Panthers
Alcovy's Thrower (53) celebrates
Tigers defender Jaden Thrower (53) celebrates with teammates after recovering a Panthers fumble. (Taylor Beck | The Covington News)
Alcovy defender goes airborne
Alcovy defensive back Caleb Brown (11) goes airborne shortly after intercepting a Lakeside pass. (Taylor Beck | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Tigers breezed past the Lakeside Panthers on the backs of stellar performances from quarterback Ashton Evans and the Alcovy defense.

The Tigers beat the Panthers 35-0 Friday night as Alcovy moved to 2-5 on the year while improving their Region 3-AAAAAA record to 2-0.

After receiving the opening kickoff, it was clear from the first play of scrimmage that junior halfback Tristan Mayweather was going to pick up right where he left off last week, putting together physical run after physical run to keep the sticks moving.

“Tristan’s a junior and his ceiling is really high, he is extremely physical,” head coach Jason Dukes said. “When he is in the open grass and you are staring down the barrel of that, not many players want that.”

Alcovy’s drive was cut short after Evans was picked off, but the Tigers defense made sure the Panthers would not be able to do anything with it. 

The story early was the Alcovy defense, as they played lockdown defense on all three levels from the start of the game.

After holding the Panthers on a fourth and short, Evans went to the air and found Mathias Height down the sideline for a 50-yard gain to put the Tigers inside the red zone.

The Tigers put the ball right back into Mayweather’s hands as he ran straight through two Lakeside defenders on his way to the endzone on the receiving end of a 17-yard touchdown pass to give Alcovy the early 7-0 lead with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter.

During the second quarter, the Alcovy offense began to stall, but the Tigers’ defense continued to hold as the Panthers’ offense continued to struggle.

After marching down the field and getting into the red zone for the first time of the game, the Panthers fumbled the snap and senior Jaden Thrower grabbed the loose ball to give Evans and the offense possession.

“[Our defense] was very sound in our gap control,” Dukes said. “[With Lakeside], we had to be a lot more disciplined. We had three really good practices this week and it paid off tonight.”

Later in the quarter, the Panthers once again approached the red zone, but this time the Panthers would be intercepted by Caleb Brown. The senior defensive back jumped the route to get the pick and give the Tigers their second turnover of the half.

Going into the locker room up 7-0 at half, the goal for the Tigers going forward was to continue the stout defensive play while trying to put up some good offensive drives to put more points on the board.

“We had some miscues in the first half; we missed some opportunities,” Dukes said. “Everyone was frustrated but at halftime we came together and calmed everybody down. We just had to get back to basics.”

Coming out of half, Alcovy recovered an onside kick to get the ball back immediately. The next play Mayweather took the ball 40 yards to put the Tigers on the seven-yard line.

The next play, Evans scored on a quarterback sneak to extend the Alcovy lead to 14-0.

After two big plays from junior MJ Stroud to force a Lakeside punt, Evans went to the air and found junior Jamel Johnson on a 45-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead 21-0.

The attack continued for Alcovy on the next offensive drive when freshman tailback Danny Moore scored on a 19-yard run to give Alcovy a 28-0 lead.

As the momentum began to grow in the third quarter, the Tigers got their third turnover as senior defensive back Malik Goodson intercepted a Lakeside pass.

The Tigers did not slow down. 

Evans went to the air again and connected with Height on a 44-yard pass to put the Tigers on the one-yard line.

Evans scored his second rushing touchdown of the night later in the series to end the third quarter scoring barrage, but by then the damage was already done as the Tigers were up 35-0.

Alcovy ended the game with a running clock in the fourth quarter.

After winning back two back games for a 2-0 start in Region 3-AAAAAA play, Alcovy faces nonregion opponent Fellowship Christian on Nov. 13.