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So Much For Pleasantries

Fans treated to first-team fireworks at best jamboree in years

Malik Love slips into the end zone for an Alcoa touchdown at Friday’s jamboree at Maryville. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

If Blount County wasn’t ready for some football before Friday night, it is now.

Heritage quarterback R.T. Byrd drops to throw.

Everybody went home with something to shout about after a spirited Maryville Orthopaedic Clinic Jamboree at Maryville’s Shields Stadium.

Excepting one Alcoa defensive series, which only served to really fire things up, starters for Maryville, Heritage, William Blount and the Tornadoes went the distance. The end result was a blast of a season kickoff, with Alcoa prevailing over the Governors, 35-21, the host Rebels denying Heritage the upset, 14-12.

William Blount, Maryville and Alcoa each open the season on Friday, with the Governors on the road at Loudon, the Rebels hosting Webb and the Tornadoes visiting Smith County. The Mountaineers make their 2013 debut Aug. 30 at South-Doyle.

The Tornadoes struck fast in the opening, 15-minute quarter. A dropped, shotgun snap on William Blount’s first play from scrimmage handed Alcoa the ball at the Governor 26-yard line. Alcoa All-State junior running back Jaquez Tyson bulled in from the 1 four plays later for a 7-0 lead.

Alcoa quarterback Peyton Wall hit speedster Malik Love in stride with a 67-yard bomb when next Alcoa had the ball, pushing the advantage to 14-0. There’d be no rout, though.

William Blount's Peyton Otis busts up the middle on a 70-yard touchdown run.

Sevier County transfer Peyton Otis lit William Blount’s engines on the first play of the following series, running 70 yards untouched down the middle of the field to halve the deficit. The Tornadoes returned fire in noticeable fashion.

The first six plays in a 10-play, 70-yard march were Wall passes. Tyson sprinted around right end from 7 yards for the score, stiff-arming a defender at the goal line for a 21-7 Alcoa lead with nine minutes to play. Alcoa coach Gary Rankin pulled his defensive starters at that point, just not for long.

William Blount cut through Alcoa reserves to go 70 yards and get back in it on a Brandon Tipton 1-yard run with seven minutes left. The lead trimmed to 21-14, Wall and the first team offense returned, finishing the quarter with a 45-yard, cutback scoring run from Tyson and a 4-yard toss sweep score from Shawn Love.

“We’re ready to play,” Rankin said. “Offensively, we’re getting close. Defensively, we’ll just keep getting better with every game.”

Otis got the Governors within 28-21 with a 4-yard run with four minutes to play. William Blount played to the horn, quarterback Reed Daniels hitting tight end Xavier Satterfield for a 35-yard gain deep in Tornado territory on the last snap. Satterfield, a 6-foot-8 Florida transfer, only became eligible Friday afternoon.

Alcoa's Jaquez Tyson wedges his way into the Governor end zone.

“I think it’s obvious it was pretty decent offense and terrible defense,” William Blount coach Justin Ridge said. “There’s time for us to build up and get better on that side of the ball.”

Greenback and Maryville reserves, along with the skills competition, served as the intermission before the Mountaineers and Rebels took the field for the finale. It got really interesting.

The Mountaineers had shown well in a preseason contest with Walker Valley a week ago, only to come off the boil a few days later against Clinton. Heritage coach Tim Hammontree said he challenged the Mountaineers prior to the jamboree not to take any plays off.

“I told them, ‘You’ve got to prove to yourself you can play a full quarter wide open, as fast as you can go,’” he said. “I’m sure South-Doyle has as many athletes as we’ll see all year, so playing faster is something we have to do.”

Senior R.T. Byrd ran the wing-T to perfection as Heritage ground out a 12-play, 70-yard drive to opening the scoring. Junior fullback Orlando Bledsoe pushed in from the 3 for the touchdown, with the extra-point kick wide left.

Heritage's Schuyler LaRue fights for more yardage.

The Rebels answered with 70-yard scoring drive of their own, senior All-State back Shawn Prevo accounting for the touchdown on a 1-yard run. The extra point made it a 7-6 Maryville advantage – for all of one play.

Byrd held the defense with a great fake, and Caleb McDonald raced behind the Rebels secondary for a 70-yard scoring catch on first down, sending the Mountaineer faithful into a frenzy. A failed two-point conversion attempt left Heritage with a 12-7 lead with seven minutes remaining.

Again, the euphoria, this time for the Mountaineers, would last only a play.

Maryville junior quarterback Tyler Vaught slipped around the left side on first down, eluded a pair of tacklers and hit the gas. The 70-yard touchdown dash and resulting extra point put the Rebels back out front at 14-12, but there was still a lot of time left.

Linebacker Kennan Brackins gave the Mountaineers one last shot, bringing down Vaught just short of the sticks on fourth-and-5 at the Heritage 16. Byrd drove Heritage as deep as first-and-10 at the Maryville 23 before time ran out, a Dylan Shinsky/Ritchie Koons sack making an eventual fourh-and-17 too much of a get.

Byrd’s final three heaves into the Rebel end zone fell incomplete.

Halftime winners: Otis had a big night, winning the punting competition for the Governors. Rebel senior Caden Rydings took win for placekicks, with Alcoa’s Nick Miller launching a 66-yard missile to win longest throw.

Maryville junior Dylan Jackson, all 6-6 of him, won the dash for fastest lineman, with teammate Cody Carroll winning the sprint for backs.

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