If Alcovy ever need a win, tonight’s the night. With two games remaining, the Tigers find themselves on the outside looking in at 3-3 in Region 4-AAAA.
"The way the region has turned out there are five teams still in the hunt for a playoff spot," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman said. "Every game from here on out is important."
The Tigers struggled last week against for the first time on defense, giving up 32 points to Mt. Zion. Up until that game, the Tigers D had been holding opponents under 12 points per game. Hoffman admitted he was a bit surprised with the outcome.
"We have played well on defense until last week," he said. "Our tackling was not very good and that hurt us. Defensively we must contain the big play"
The Tigers will lineup with the same group that has got them to .500 thus far and Hoffman said he doesn’t plan to change things at this point of the season. Defensively, Alcovy will look to get back on track and must contain the ball carriers coming out of the back filed. Hoffman said the key will be how well his team takes care of business on the line.
"They [Forest Park] are a spread team that likes to throw the ball," he said. "They also like to get their quarterback in open space so that he can make plays. We must contain the quarterback and make tackles on defense."
When the Tigers have won, they’ve had success in the running game. That’s the game plan tonight. Alcovy will look to exploit a Panther team that is giving up 29 points a game.
"Offensively we must control the line of scrimmage and give our backs some seam to make plays," he said. "We must be able to get on the corner with our running game."
The Tigers sport a respectable plus five point differential but the problem they face is on offense, specifically moving the chains. When Alcovy is running the ball and picking up first down, it controls the clock and gives its defense time to rest. The Tigers should be able to assert their running game tonight, but turnovers will kill drives so Hoffman’s team must take care of the ball.
Three teams, Dutchtown, Griffin and Jonesboro, sit at 4-2 and Alcovy will need some help in order to make the playoffs. Jonesboro plays first place North Clayton tonight at Tara stadium. Should the Bulldogs lose, the Tigers would move into a tie while owning the tie-breaker as Alcovy defeated Jonesboro 34-19 in September.
With their playoff lives at stake, the Tigers need to take care of business. Five wins would seem to be enough to get in but a loss will certainly make things tougher. Hoffman said each week the pressure builds but his team must remain focused on the task at hand.
"We as a team know the important of the game and more important understand that we must be prepared to play each and every week," he said.