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The Devils Made Them Do It

Tornadoes smash Greeneville to avenge last season’s loss

By Tate Russell
Assistant Editor
Blount Press Row

Ezekiel Koko receives congratulations from Alcoa coach Gary Rankin after a score. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

On a night when the Tornadoes put 42 points on the board, defense carried Alcoa to a 42-0 victory over defending 4A state champion Greeneville on Friday at Goddard Field.

The Tornadoes were looking to avenge a 42-14 loss at the hands of Greene Devils last season.

“That’s as well as we played since I’ve been the coach at Alcoa. It was a complete annihilation,” Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said. “I was mad, our coaches were mad, and our kids were mad and that’s the way it should have been.”

Relentless pressure from the front seven held the Greene Devils to just 62 yards of offense in the contest. After the three-minute mark in the first quarter, the Tornadoes (5-1) allowed just 9 yards.

Over half the Greene Devil offensive production was accumulated on a post route on their first offensive snap.

“We’ve not played a dominating game in a long time and that’s what that was. That credit goes to the kids. They were focused and they played a good football team,” Alcoa defensive coordinator Brian Nix said. “They’ve been to the last three state championship games and won two, and to come out and play the way we did says so much about our kids.”

A big part of the stingy effort was a shuffle along the defensive line. Braylon young moved inside to defensive tackle where he feels his size a technique fit better. Michael Flack saw his first defensive start at end, where he frustrated the Greene Devil passing game most of the evening.

“We want to have our best eleven on the field and bringing in Michael Flack I think does that,” Nix said. “Braylon creates more problems on the inside. He creates problems anywhere he’s at but inside he’s just a beast.”

Jacquez Tyson gets loose in the Greeneville secondary.

After the first series the Tornadoes held the Green Devils to 13 inches per play just one week after the same offense scored 72 against South Greene.

Young tallied seven tackles, a half sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.  Flack found the ball carrier eight times and earned one and a half sacks.

The Tornadoes offense provided a strong contribution as well, powering their way to 421 yards, 285 coming on the ground.  Peyton Wall was a perfect 7-of-7 passing for 136 yards

Wall’s most impressive toss may have come the game’s first play when he found Landon Turbyfill coming out the backfield and laid the ball over a Greeneville linebacker and softly into the hands of his target for a 47-yard gain.

A Malik Love rush of 11 yards and reception for 9 moved the Tornadoes near the goal line, where Ezekiel Koko took a toss sweep and eased his way into the end zone for an early 7-0 lead.

The Greene Devils appeared to have an offensive rhythm going on their first series. At the Tornadoes 13-yard line they faced a fourth-and-3. Young burst through the line and blasted the ball carrier to force the turnover on downs.

Love setup the Tornadoes second score on a 30-yard reception. Two plays later Koko sprinted off the left guard and was never touched on the way to a second score.

Peyton Wall is snared by a Greene Devil tackler.

On the Tornadoes next possession, Wall found Jordan Ferguson for 29 yards. Turbyfill powered his way to the 2-yard line, punishing a Greene Devil defensive back on a 9-yard gain. Jacquez Tyson got the touchdown from 2 yards out.

Koko led the Tornadoes ground attack with 84 yards and three scores. Tyson gained 83 yards and picked up a pair of scores. Ten different Tornadoes received carries and eight gained 10 or more yards.

Flack earned both of his sacks on the next defensive series, backing the Greene Devils up to their own 7 and giving Alcoa good field position following a punt.

Starting at the 44, Koko needed one attempt to extend the lead. The senior took a handoff right and was stood up at the line of scrimmage, but a powerful spin allowed him escape the grasps of the Greene Devil tackler and race toward the goal line. With one man to beat at the 15 Koko, extended his arm and threw aside the defensive back to earn his third score of the first half.

Alcoa started both the first and second halves with the ball after Greeneville elected to kickoff to open the game. On their first drive of the second half, the Tornadoes used eight rushes to go 80 yards, highlighted by a 36-yard bolt by Tyson and a hard-earned 21-yard run by Wall.

Tyson went up the middle behind lead blocks by Jarod Crenshaw and Thomas Loy to score.

Jarod Crenshaw is bottled up at the line.

Turbyfill took a shotgun snap and went left to pick up the two-point conversion and ensure a running clock with 7:53 left in the third, Alcoa holding a 35-0 lead.

On the next play from scrimmage, the Tornadoes defense swallowed up the Greene Devil quarterback. Young stripped the ball then charitably pitched it to Kenny Dean, who took it 25 yards for the game’s final score.

“I went and tried to strip it the first time and missed, but I got another shot and took it from him and just took off,” Young said. “I might have been able to score on my own but I looked back and Kenny was right there and he’s a senior and may never get another chance to score on defense, and I wanted to be able to share the glory”

Strong doses of Tyson, Caleb Burchfield and Shaun Love would chew the clock for the remainder of the third and fourth quarters before backup quarterback Mitchell McClurg took a knee at the 13-yard line to end the game.



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