Hoffman re­turns to Jack­son

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

Al­covy en­tered the East­side game last Fri­day need­ing to over­come an early sea­son hur­dle in or­der to pick up its first win.

The Tigers did just that in lim­it­ing turnovers, go­ing from seven throughout the first two weeks to just one in a 24- 10 win over their cross- county ri­vals at Sharp Sta­dium.

Now, go­ing into the sea­son’s fourth week with Al­covy’s first chance at back- to- back wins, the Tigers still have some more to work on as what coach Kirk Hoffman calls “phase two” of the sea­son or Re­gion 2- AAAAAA play be­gins in a week.

Chief among needed im­prove­ment is the of­fense, which put up 158 yards against East­side.

“We still need to get a lot bet­ter on of­fense,” Hoffman said.

The Tigers, who had their high­est scor­ing out­put against East­side, have a daunt­ing task in pro­vid­ing more offensive fire­power in the matchup at Jack­son. The Red Devils ( 2- 1), not only gave up just six points in a 37- 6 win over Monticello last week but were also a top- 10 ranked team en­ter­ing the sea­son and pos­sess two Division I de­fen­sive line­man.

“De­fen­sively they’ve got a very se­nior- loaded team with two de­fen­sive line­men com­mit­ted, one to Van­der­bilt and one to Ge­or­gia Tech,” Hoffman said. “Of­fen­sively it’s go­ing to be a good test for us.”

Adding to the test is an op­pos­ing coach with inside in­for­ma­tion.

Jack­son coach Mike Par­ris has not only been with the Red Devils since 1996, but he also worked with Jack­son’s thenof­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Kirk Hoffman. The Al­covy and Jack­son coached worked to­gether while Hoffman was there from 199799.

Their re­la­tion­ship, how­ever, goes much fur­ther be­yond their time at Jack­son, as the two football coaches have known each other al­most their whole lives. Hoffman and Par­ris grew up to­gether play­ing in the same lit­tle leagues and even go­ing to Clark­ston High to­gether for one year.

Hoffman, who was one school year ahead of Par­ris, was closer friends with his Par­ris' older brother but still grew up around the Jack­son coach as school­mates un­til Par­ris went to Redan af­ter re­dis­trict­ing.

The two still talk fre­quently and did so Mon­day at a GHSA meet­ing and Wed­nes­day to fi­nal­ize things such as the time of Fri­day’s game, but they didn't give away any strate­gies or en­gage in any friendly give- and- take about who will win or lose.

Hoffman said the coaches' re­la­tion­ship hasn’t trick­led down to have any ef­fect on the play­ers ei­ther.

“I think some of them know I coached there, but I don’t think it’s been an is­sue,” We’re telling our kids that No. 1, they’re a good football team, and No. 2 it’s the next game on the sched­ule," he said.

It’s also an­other chance for the Tigers to show Hoffman that they’ve over­come their turnover strug­gles. The team spent most of last week work­ing on hold­ing on to the ball af­ter giv­ing it away so much on what Hoffman called, “ef­fort turnovers.”

The work in prac­tice proved pro­duc­tive against East­side, but its some­thing the Tigers will continue to work on throughout the sea­son with re­gion play just around the cor­ner.

“That’s one thing about high school football, you get a lim­ited num­ber of pos­ses­sions. If you turn the ball over that lim­ited num­ber gets a lot smaller,” Hoffman said. “It wasn’t a prob­lem with tech­nique, we had tipped balls get­ting in­ter­cepted and those thigns are go­ing to hap­pen in the game. We’ve got to hold on to the football; that’s a huge fac­tor and each week we’ve got­ten bet­ter at it.”

An­thony Banks /The Cov­ing­ton News

Al­covy coach Kirk Hoffman grew up in the same community as Jack­son coach, and to­day's com­pe­ti­tion, Mike Par­ris.

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