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FOOTBALL: Tigers early redzone struggles hurt in the end
Alcovy Tigers quarterback M.J. Stroud scrambles to his right looking for a receiver downfield. - photo by Anthony Banks

CONYERS, Ga. - The Alcovy Tigers could not find their way to a win as they fell to the Rockdale County Bulldogs by a score of 21-14 and first-year head coach Jason Dukes will have to wait another week to notch that first win under his belt. 

Alcovy’s Andrae Robinson scores from five yards out against Rockdale County. - photo by Anthony Banks

The Tigers threatened early and often and had stout defensive play through the early stages but the struggles of the offense and the Bulldogs stout rushing attack ultimately led to the loss. 

The Tigers scored not only the first points of the game but also the first points of their season after recovering a fumbled snap on a punt on the Bulldogs own four-yard line. Tigers’ running back Rontravius Perry ran it in to give his team a 7-0 early lead.

This score seemed to spark the Bulldogs offense as they went on to score 21 unanswered points behind their stout rushing attack. Bulldogs quarterback Chandler Perry was responsible for two of their scores and running back Connor Mack scored the other.

Mack and running mate Jaionte McMillan led the way for the Bulldogs as Mack finished with over 100 yards and McMillan finished with over 75. This one-two punch was hard for the Tigers to stop and gave them constant trouble in the second half. 

Although the Bulldogs rushing attack was stout, The Tigers defense was once again a bright spot for the team, especially in the early stages of the game as they found ways to keep the Bulldogs off the board early, despite tough field position. 

The star of the Tigers defense on the night was cornerback Jaquez Snell, who finished with two interceptions and kept the Bulldogs passing game from ever getting started. The ability to keep the passing game from being effective was a huge boost and kept the game close. 

Although the Tigers struggled to get points on the board, the Tigers still had some success on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Andrae Robinson was the brightest spot on the Tigers offense as he consistently did an outstanding job of making the opposition miss in a solid night receiving and running.

Robinson ultimately finished leading the team with 78 rushing yards while also leading having 31 receiving yards. The emergence of Robinson as a backfield threat and the eventual return of star running back Natorien Holloway could become a dynamic duo for the Tigers.

However, en even more pleasant surprise for the Tigers was the impressive play of Rontravius Perry, who could potentially help the Tigers have a very strong three-headed rushing attack for the remainder of the season. 

The run opening the passing game is a common theme in football offenses and this could not be truer in the Tigers case as quarterback M.J. Stroud was at his most comfortable passing when his rushing attack was clicking.

Stroud showed flashes of his potential as a passer but still has to learn to rely more on his arm rather than his legs. Stroud definitely is a threat when running the ball, but if he finds a way to become a more confident passer, he could become one of Newton County’s most unstoppable offensive forces.

There is potential teeming from this team on both sides of the ball and the more experience that they gain, the stronger they will become in every facet of the game.

Something has got to give as the Alcovy Tigers fall to 0-2 on the season and will face cross-county rivals the (0-2) Eastside Eagles, who will be coming in angry after losing the Newton Cup to the Newton Rams in a tough 42-7 loss.