GROVETOWN, Ga. — The Alcovy Tigers entered region play with a breakout performance Friday night as they beat the Grovetown Warriors.
Alcovy defeated Grovetown by a score of 44-14 as big performances from the both sides of the ball helped propel them to a win in their first game in Region 3-AAAAAA this season.
Entering into Friday night 0-5 on the season, the region opener was going to be telling on whether or not the Tigers’ tough schedule early on prepared them for region play.
On Grovetown’s first offensive drive of the game, the Tigers defense pushed them back immediately and forcing as fourth down inside the Warriors’ five-yard line.
After receiving the snap, the Grovetown punter would accidently step out of the back of the endzone, resulting in a safety and an early Alcovy lead of 2-0 to start the game.
The early momentum would be short lived for the Tigers as sophomore quarterback Ashton Evans would get intercepted by Joseph Jean and returned for the pick six. After the two-point conversion was successful, the Warriors were leading 8-2.
As the first quarter got to the halfway mark, the Alcovy run game began to wear down the Grovetown, as junior halfback Tristan Mayweather would run the rock straight through the Warrior defenders.
After marching down to the red zone, Evans would go to the air and find junior wideout Mathias Height for the 11-yard touchdown pass to take back to lead by a score of 9-8.
“Even though we had some miscues early that led to points for Grovetown,” head coach Jason Dukes said. “Our guys really battled back and did a good job righting ship and scoring points and having solid defense.”
Grovetown would take no time answering as wideout Dalyn Foley would take the snap outside and outrun the Tigers defense for the 58-yard touchdown run to take back the lead as the Warriors were now up by a score of 14-9.
After the quick Grovetown score, the Tigers would match them almost immediately, as Evans would go deep for junior wideout Jamel Johnson on the 56-yard touchdown pass as Alcovy would take the lead back from the Warriors by a score of 16-14.
The run game led by Mayweather and JJ Strong was working great with Evans pass game as Alcovy was beginning to look in rhythm.
“I am extremely proud [of Mayweather and Strong,]” Dukes said. “We preach physicality in everything we do, our ball security was very good and I was proud of them.”
Following the Alcovy score, Grovetown quarterback Hunter Thomason would fumble the snap, allowing the Tigers to recover the ball and start their next drive inside the Warriors’ 30-yard line.
Mayweather would quickly run the ball down to the five-yard line before Strong would take the ball on the goal line and score on the three-yard run to extend the Tigers’ lead 23-14 hallway through the second quarter.
Coming out of halftime, Alcovy did not take their foot off the petal, forcing a quick three and out on the opening drive of Grovetown, followed a quick drive resulting in a three-yard touchdown run from Mayweather to extend the Alcovy lead to 30-14.
Things would get worse for the Warriors as Thomason would fumble for the second time of the game as junior MJ Stroud would come through on the recovery for the Tigers.
A few plays after the turnover, Evans would go to the air and find Johnson on the 34-yard touchdown pass as the duo’s second touchdown of the game put the Tigers up 37-14.
After forcing a turnover on downs, the Tigers’ offense would not slow down as Evans would march down the field before taking it in himself on a one-yard quarterback sneak to extend the lead to 44-14 with eight minutes left in regulation.
For the last eight minutes of the game the Alcovy defense would continue to shut down Grovetown as they had done the entire game, allowing the clock to expire before the Warriors could add anymore points.
The Tigers won by a score of 44-14 as the Tiger notched their first win of the season while also starting undefeated in region play.
To accompany big games from Mayweather and Strong, both Johnson and Height made key catches from start to finish that were key to keeping drives alive and getting points on the board for the Tigers.
Despite the three interceptions, Evans played solid throughout the game and did not let the turnovers get to him as he would throw for three touchdowns as well as run one in himself.
Going into their sixth game of the season, the Tigers had played some of the top competition in the state, and now that region play is here the Tigers feel this team is as battle tested as any other team.
“[The tough schedule] has paid off, especially in the physical standpoint of it,” Dukes said. “Our guys understanding what physical football is like and going out in the region and trying to display a physical demeaner payed off.”
After getting the first win in 2020, the Tigers will look to keep their undefeated region record alive as they stay home next week to host the Lakeside Panthers Friday, Nov. 6.