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Tornado, a tall task for Longhorns

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

The Empire State Building has stood tall for years and is among the most famous when it comes to well-known structures in the United States. The same can be said about Alcoa’s football program.
The Tornado is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A and they’re known as one of the elite football programs across the state of Tennessee.
The defending state champions have won nine state titles since 2000. In all they’ve been a part of 13.
Their only loss this season came at the hands of Maryville, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A. Their first round opponent in the playoff will be Johnson County.
The Longhorns would make history if they can pull off a giant-like upset on Friday. It would be like David taking down Goliath. Every news media across the state would be trying to locate the town of Mountain City. For one night Johnson County would rank right up there in size with Shelby, Davidson and Knox County. And every high school football fan would know its whereabouts.
With every nice dream comes reality.
The Longhorns are not in the same league as Alcoa. But there was a time when they stood toe-to-toe with them.
Head Coach Don Kerley should remember it well. So should his brother and defensive coordinator Tom Kerley.
They took the fight to them in 1988 before losing 15-6. But that was then and this is now.
Alcoa knocked off Elizabethton’s opponent Knoxville Catholic 21-14 last week in the battle of the state’s top two teams.
Jaquez Tyson carried the football 43 times for 194 yards and three touchdowns. And this came on a night when temperatures were hanging in the upper 30’s.
Carrying the rock isn’t something new to Tyson. Last year in the state championship game he lugged it 49 times for 278 yards and three scores. At one point he carried it 12 straight times on a 17-play, 70 yard drive which turned out to be the game winner.
His ability to run the football will definitely be a challenge for Johnson County’s defense.
The Tornado mounted a 13-play, 80 yard drive and another one that covered 67 yards in 15 plays. Both ended up with Tyson scoring. And they didn’t attempt a pass on any of the two.
Alcoa ran the football 63 times as a team. Quarterback Mitchell McClurg ran it 17 times for 60 yards against the second ranked team in the state. He and Tyson combined for 60 of the team’s 63 carries.
They kept Catholic’s explosive offense off the field the entire night. It was smash-mouth football at its best.
The Longhorns have had some success throwing. But critical turnovers have cost them two or three football games.

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