Rivalry games always add a little spark to the football season.
That spark gets hotter when first place in the region is on the line.
The Alcovy Tigers take on county rival Newton High tonight with a chance to hold onto the top spot in Region 2-AAAAAA, but the Tigers don't need any extra motivation when a chance to claim their first Newton Cup since 2009 is on the line.
"One of the things that we have also focused on is that the next game is the most important game," Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman said. "This game adds a little more because it is between two county teams and because it's a region game. You put the two ingrediants together and it makes for an important game."
Last season, the Tigers took a 1-0 region mark into Sharp Stadium against the Rams and came out with a 14-7 loss. Hoffman knows that this season, the Tigers need to capitalize offensively to have a shot against Newton.
"I think offensively, we have to cut down on mistakes," Hoffman said. "I've said it all year. Mistakes got us last week and we learned that we need to value the football.
"Most importantly on offense we have to stay on our blocks," he said. "That's going to be key for us this week."
Last week, the Tigers allowed 31 points to Luella, but Hoffman said the defense played well when they had the opportunity, stopping the Lions late in the fourth quarter of their comeback attemept.
"On the defensive side of the ball, we have to continue to run to the ball," Hoffman said. "We have done a good job of that this year. It's no secret that Newton has a lot of weapons, so we have to try to bottle them up and not let them get open."
Hoffman said the biggest obsticle to Alcovy's fifth win of the year comes from the Rams' speed. Newton's spread offense thrives on mismatches, and Hoffman said the Tigers will have to play perfect assignment football to keep the Rams out of the end zone.
"We have to keep their speed in check," he said. "I have been real impressed with the development of their quarterback (Romario Johnson) and their receiving group. We have to play assignment football and make sure we tackle them when we get to them."
A win would move the Tigers' record to 2-0 in the region.
The match-up will also be featured as the Fox 5 Game of the Week, garnering over 61 percent of the fan vote from online and text voting. The game will be featured online at Fox 5's official website.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Sharp Stadium.