A late fourth-quarter push by Luella fell short Friday night, as the Alcovy Tigers clinched their fourth win of the season on the road with a 34-31 victory over the Lions.
Tristen Payne led the Tigers (4-1, 1-0) with four scores, three on the ground and one through the air, but costly mistakes kept the Lions (2-3, 0-1) within striking distance of the Tigers late in the fourth quarter.
Up 27-17 heading into the final period of play, Luella scored twice in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers' defense held to give Alcovy its first region win of the year.
"Defensively, we made a stand when we needed to," Alcovy head coach Kirk Hoffman said. "They played well despite all of the mistakes we made. We played very well except for about four plays and Luella capitalized on all four of them."
The Tigers' balanced offense ran for 166 yards while Payne threw for 163, hitting receiver Jaylin Penny for an 80-yard touchdown score on Alcovy's first play from scrimmage. Payne also crossed the goaline for a 2-yard scoring run in the first quarter, but Luella scored twice in the period on an Alcovy botched snap and a long pass play after a Tigers' fumble.
Payne broke the deadlocked score in the second quarter using a 1-yard run to send the Tigers into halftime with a 20-17 lead.
Alcovy shut the Lions out in the third quarter, as Payne found the endzone for the third time on the ground with a 1-yard run. Payne's touchdown run gave the Tigers a 27-17 advantage heading into the fourth.
The Lions scored twice in the final quarter of play to pressure the Tigers' lead, but Okon Godwin's 2-yard touchdown run sealed the road victory for Alcovy.
"We were really balanced and you can tell that we're getting better in both facets of the game," Hoffman said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but the kids are playing hard and are answering the challenge when they need to. We're proud of them."
Alcovy hosts Newton at Sharp Stadium next week for a chance to defeat both of their county rivals since 2009.