Blount Press Row

Tornadoes strike Smith County

First-half blitz carries Alcoa to rout of Owls in opener

Jaquez Tyson is dragged to the ground by a Smith County tackler in the Alcoa season opener on Friday. Photos by Jenifer Clark

By Heath Dunkel
Staff Writer
Blount Press Row

Carthage — Five Minutes.

Defensive back Jake Warwick makes a flying tackle.

That’s about how long it generally takes for any team in the state of Tennessee to find out just how good are the Alcoa Tornadoes. For the Smith County Owls, it took only 22 seconds in an eventual, 38-0 Alcoa blowout in the season opener for both teams on Friday.

The Tornadoes wasted no time making their presence felt, scoring on the first play from scrimmage on a hook-and-lateral. Quarterback Peyton Wall threw a 6-yard strike to receiver John Riley McClaughlin, who quickly pitched to a sprinting Malik Love speeding by.

Love bolted 71 yards down the field and into the end zone.

With 6:01 left to play in the first quarter, Alcoa found itself in the end zone again, Wall throwing a 66-yard bomb to Love for a 14-0 Tornado lead.

By the end of the first quarter, Wall found sophomore Ryan Clark for an 8-yard score, the Tornadoes blowing it open in a hurry with a 21-0 advantage.

The Tornado defense bottles up a Smith County ball carrier.

“I thought we played pretty clean for the first game,” Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said. “You worry about getting kids on and off the field for punt teams and different offense and defensive packages so I thought overall it was a pretty good game.”

Alcoa scored thrice more before the end of the half.

With five minutes left to play in the second quarter, junior running back Jaquez Tyson scored on a 70-yard run for the Tornadoes. After a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Braylon Young, Alcoa was soon in the end zone again. Backup quarterback Mitchell McClurg scored from 6 yards out.

With three seconds left to play in the first half, Austin Wallace capped an explosive half with a 19-yard field goal for what proved the final margin.

Once the second half began Smith County found themselves under the mercy rule as the clock began to run continuously. While neither team managed to score in the second half

Mitchell McClurg delivers the stick for the Tornaadoes.

Despite only seven touches in the backfield, Tyson made his presence felt for Alcoa with 159 yards and the one touchdown.

“The offensive line was outstanding tonight,” Tyson said. “Every time I touched the ball it was green in front of me. They did most of the work.”

The Tornadoes host cross-town rival Maryville next week at Goddard Field. The Rebels ripped defending Division II champion Webb, 35-14, on Friday.

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