COVINGTON, Ga. — Alcovy’s 2020 postseason appearance was brief and bittersweet.
The Tigers were given plenty to be thankful for this year. They emerged from Region 3-AAAAAA and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2013. Better yet, they earned the right to host a playoff came for just the second time in program history and first time since 2011.
But just one day after Thanksgiving, their celebration was cut short.
Hosting third-seeded Brunswick at Sharp Stadium on Friday night, No. 2 seed Alcovy was promptly bounced from the playoffs with a 41-6 defeat. The Tigers closed out the season at 2-7.
“It’s obstacle, adversity, overcome. Obstacle, adversity, overcome,” Alcovy head coach Jason Dukes said of his Tigers’ 2020 campaign. “It started in the spring time with not being able to get a spring in, and the summer being in limbo. The great thing is our kids never made an excuse. Every time we were turned loose to do something, we saw it as an opportunity rather than a reason why they couldn’t be successful.”
Dukes pointed to Brunswick’s physicality as being a key difference down the stretch. The Pirates set the tone on that front from the get-go.
After fielding the opening kickoff, Brunswick gashed the the Tiger defense through a series of intermediate runs and passes. After bullying their way down the field, the Pirates capped off the 10-play drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior KJ Lee to senior Tyrease Jones to make it 7-0 at the 7:28 mark.
“Football is a game of controlling the line of scrimmage. We struggled all night to hold the line of attack, and that was difficult,” Alcovy head coach Jason Dukes said. “When you’re having to devote more players to the box to try to control the run, that opens up more things in the secondary.”
Brunswick imposed its physical will on Alcovy once again late in the second quarter. This time, the club took over possession on the 1-yard and incrementally worked downfield before finding the end zone on the ground. Junior running back Chuckobe Hill’s 15-yard touchdown made it 13-0 with 10:40 left in the first half.
On the ensuing drive, things quickly spiraled out of control.
Alcovy coughed the football on the next play from scrimmage, setting Brunswick up on the 20. The Pirates capitalized on the turnover by handing the ball off to junior Ree Simmons, who sprinted up the left side of the field a touchdown to make it 20-0.
The third quarter saw just one score as Brunswick’s Hill plunged in from five yards out. The club pushed its advantage out to 41-0 before a late touchdown from Alcovy junior MJ Stroud prevented the shutout.
“I’m proud of these kids. I’m proud of these coaches,” Dukes said. “We’ll take this as a learning experience. We’re going to watch this entire season of film and break down everything we did. We’ll do a little self-scouting, a little self-evaluation, and build for next year.”
Brunswick will travel to top-seeded Lee County for the second round next Friday. The Trojans took care of business against No. 4 Tucker on Friday night, rolling to a 49-17 victory.