Tigers need to cut down turnovers

The Covington News - - Sports - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

Al­covy is run­ning out of op­por­tu­ni­ties to work out the kinks be­fore its Re­gion 2-AAAAAA football sea­son be­gins against Luella on Sept. 28.

The Tigers have a road game at Jack­son on Sept. 21 and a home date ver­sus East­side to­day to get ready for the six play­off-de­cid­ing matchups on its sched­ule.

In those two games, Al­covy not only needs to find a way to win its first game but also a way to work on some of the things that plagued it in a 21-16 loss to Jones County and a 29-17 loss to Perry last week.

Chief among what the Tigers need to im­prove on is their abil­ity to hold on to the ball.

Al­covy com­mit­ted four turnovers in its open­ing game and three more in its sec­ond.

“We’ve got to cut down on the mis­takes and cut down on penal­ties. We have to try to get get­ting in the cat­e­gory I call ‘beat­ing your­selves,’” Al­covy coach Kirk Hoffman said. “The last two games we’ve done a lot of things beat­ing our­selves — we have to stop penal­ties and turnovers.”

Quar­ter­back

Marcus

Wil­liams has had his hand in those turnovers, throw­ing four in­ter­cep­tions, in­clud­ing three in the first week. How­ever, Hoffman said, some of that has been im­proved. In some cases, Hoffman said the reads weren’t there early on, and other cases were things liked tipped balls.

“Re­ally only once (an in­ter­cep­tion) came on a bad read,” Hoffman said. “In the first game the kid made a great in­ter­cep­tion on a deep pass and then we had a tip ball that gets in­ter­cepted. The big thing is to not let the turnovers eat you up and to get bet­ter at it.”

The Tigers have been hard at work dur­ing prac­tices all this week try­ing to get bet­ter at hold­ing on to the ball. They haven’t been tap­ing foot­balls to their hands or run­ning sprints un­til they fell to in­still the im­por­tance of keep­ing pos­ses­sion, but have been work­ing on tech­nique in sit­u­a­tions where they are push­ing for ex­tra yards.

“We’ve been bat­tling to get ex­tra yards and have been putting the ball on the ground,” Hoffman said. “We have to make a con­scious ef­fort to limit the turnovers.”

Ev­ery pos­ses­sion will count to­day as Al­covy brings 16.5 points a game against the Ea­gles, who are al­low­ing just seven throughout its first two con­tests.

East­side, the area’s only un­beaten team af­ter two games, shutout New­ton 32-0 in its opener be­fore beat­ing Jack­son 23-14 last week.

The Ea­gles trailed 14-3 af­ter scor­ing 20 straight and shut­ting out Jack­son in the fi­nal quar­ter just a week ago. That’s the type of de­fense Al­covy faces to­day as it looks to get in the win col­umn for the first time in 2012.

To do so, it will need to gets a lit­tle more in rhythm on its of­fense, and continue to de­velop Wil­liams as the Tigers continue to pass more than they have in the past.

Al­covy showed that im­prove­ment against Perry, tal­ly­ing 340 yards of of­fense, 194 com­ing on 44 car­ries. Wil­liams was 12 of 19 with one in­ter­cep­tion for 146 yards.

“I thought we did some things of­fen­sively we haven’t been able to do in a while,” Hoffman said. “I thought we had lit­tle im­prove­ment there.”

The Tigers’ of­fense will not only have to deal with East­side’s pres­sure this week but also the fact that it is a ri­valry game in front of two home crowds at Sharp Sta­dium.

Al­covy’s last win in the se­ries was 3-0 in 2009. It was the Tigers only win all-time against East­side, as the av­er­age score of the six-game se­ries is 23.3-7.8 in fa­vor of the Ea­gles.

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