COVINGTON, Ga. — For the second year in a row, Alcovy was faced with severe rain before they kicked off the season in their scrimmage game. Also, for the second game in a row, as the Tigers’ spring game in May was also inundated by thunderstorms.
But unlike last season, the weather brought no indication of what was to come in the scrimmage, as the Tigers shined in several spots despite falling to the Jackson Red Devils on the scoreboard, 20-13 Thursday night at Sharp Stadium.
But scrimmages aren’t about the scoreboard, right, Coach?
“The thing about a scrimmage is that you can see the things you have to work on,” Alcovy head coach Chris Edgar said. “We had a lot of good drive-sustaining runs. Last year there were times where we didn’t move the sticks and our defense just kept having to go back out there.”
Time spent on defense was not an issue tonight, however, as both sides of the ball started fast and physical.
The Red Devils took the ball first, and after a punt, it quickly became apparent how explosive the Tigers could be.
On third down, quarterback Nick Simmons found Adrian Robinson wide open on a seam route that netted a 60-yard gain and set up a two-yard touchdown run from tailback Natorian Holloway.
After a quick punt from Jackson, the Tigers would again drive 55 yards down the field in three minutes to score after Simmons scrambled five yards into the end zone.
Edgar had nothing but praise for his starting quarterback.
“I thought Nick played great,” he said. “He made some good decisions, and he’s got a really good internal clock. When pressure tries to break down on him, he goes and makes something happen.”
Simmons believed the team’s fast start was key to putting them up two scores early on.
“We tried to start fast and finish strong,” he said.
Simmons would head into halftime with three completions on four attempts for 82 yards and a score along with his five-yard rushing touchdown.
Defensively, the Tigers displayed the same stinginess and aggression that was different from last year, but a constant that Edgar has praised all offseason. The coach noted that last season it was the linebackers like Stephon Jefferson (120-plus tackles in 2017) that got all the stops because his defensive line would eat up blocks.
However, this season — given the scrimmage sample size — it looks as if Jalen Banks and Logan Wyatt could be a dynamic, penetrating defensive line and linebacker duo as both were all over the field tonight in the first half.
“Logan and I are real good friends,” Banks said. “Before every play, we come up to each other and say, ‘Let’s meet at the quarterback,’ and we really take that to heart and do what we can to make sure our team wins.”
But Edgar, Simmons and Banks echoed the same sentiments about second-half play and how it could have gone better.
Granted, there were a lot of new faces in the second half that lacked varsity experience. Some of them like Mathias Height and Landon Cooley made nice plays. But Edgar knows that it is important to get them ready to play to build a roster with tremendous depth.
After two rushing scores by the Red Devils’ Dennis Foster and Jalen Medlock tied the game, Alex Patrick would ultimately score the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard trot.
And although Edgar wasn’t too concerned about the final outcome, he did acknowledge that the scrimmage not only gave him plenty to feel good about, but a chunk of stuff to work on.
“We got to get in some better conditioning, and we’ve got to tackle,” Edgar said. “We also have to do a better job at setting the edge.”
For Alcovy, Adrian Robinson paced the Tigers offensively, finishing with four catches for 90 yards and a score.
Those fundamentals will be crucial in their first game of the regular season against Newton, who they have not played against in several years. The Rams defeated Columbia 28-16 in a scrimmage last Saturday, also at Sharp Stadium.
“Newton is a dangerous team,” he said. “We’re going to get into film and see what they did in their scrimmage game. They are an excellent team, and we know that. They’ve got guys all over the field that can take it on any play. They’ve got some confidence about them, so we’ve got to get to that point too and have a great week of practice to be able to match them.”