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Secondary Matters

Tornadoes stymie CAK passing game in 51-17 romp

Alcoa defensive back Brenden Teeter breaks up a Christian Academy pass on Friday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Fifty-one points is one thing.

Jaquez Tyson hops through a gaping hole.

It’s what Alcoa did to Christian Academy of Knoxville on defense that stole the show in a 51-17 thrashing Friday night at Goddard Field.

The win guarantees the Tornadoes (7-1, 3-0 District 4AA) no worse than second in the final district standings in two weeks, the placing securing a berth in next month’s Class 3A playoffs. Two-time defending state champion Christian Academy (2-6, 1-2) must now find its way to postseason by way of a wildcard spot.

Alcoa hosts Catholic (7-1, 3-0) on Nov. 1 in the district championship game. Maplewood visits next Friday.

“Our objective is to win the next two and get some playoff games at home,” Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said.

All-State running back Jaquez Tyson ran wild against Christian Academy, with Tornado quarterback Peyton Wall and flanker Malik Love not far back, as Alcoa rang up 394 yards rushing on the Warriors.

Tyson scored on runs of 1, 12 and 1 yards. Wall had touchdown scampers of 9 and 19 yards. Love had a dazzler of a 72-yard burst to open the night’s scoring, the speedy flanker adding a second touchdown on a 56-yard toss from Wall.

Peyton Wall was part of an impressive ground assault.

It was 28-10 Tornadoes at the half, but the score bore little resemblance to the game itself. Defensively, Alcoa delivered a dominating performance, highlighted by a secondary that came way with three interceptions on the evening.

“The thing I was proud of was we were physical in the secondary,” Rankin said.

Brenden Teeter played a prominent role for the Tornadoes throughout. The junior safety thwarted one Christian Academy drive with a caused fumble with nine minutes to play in the half. With two minutes until intermission, Teeter cut short another Warrior possession with an interception.

Defensive backs Dustin Clabough and John Riley McLaughlin also had picks for the Tornadoes, with Jake Warrick adding a safety, as Alcoa limited the Warriors’ pass-heavy offense to 10 points on the evening.

Christian Academy’s final score came on a late interception returned for a touchdown against Tornado reserves.

Heavy pressure up front, paced by All-State tackle Braylon Young and sophomore end Jonathan Decker, enabled Alcoa to keep plenty of bodies in the secondary to narrow the passing lanes.

“They took two championships away from us by three points,” Young said. “That was a big motivation this week. We practice hard all week, and this was the payoff.”

John Riley McLaughlin snares one of Alcoa's three picks.

Love opened the scoring with a scorching, 72-yard run down the Warrior sideline for a 7-0 lead on the game’s second possession. The Warriors answered with a Stephen New 42-yard field goal. Mixing the run with the pass, the Tornadoes marched 66 yards in 15 time-consuming plays to make it 14-3 on a Tyson 1-yard run with 10 minutes to play in the half.

After the Teeter caused fumble, putting the Alcoa in first-and-10 at the Christian Academy 38, Wall made it 21-3 Tornadoes on a 9-yard dash around right end.

Tyson averaged 7.9 yards per carry in the opening half. Having the Warriors on the other side of the ball did a lot to help a sore ankle for much of the season feel better, he said.

“My gut was just turning over,” Tyson said, “and it just came pouring out. It’s the best it (the ankle) has felt since the Maryville game. The offensive line had a pretty breezy night. They made it pretty easy for me.”

The Warriors moved quickly to make it 21-10 on a 5-yard Cole Smith pass to Phillip Nickel with four minutes to play in the half, and that was pretty much it.

Malik Love scampers for the corner.

The Christian Academy running game could do little against the Alcoa defensive front, which limited the Warriors to 52 yards on 16 carries.

When play resumed after halftime, the points came in bunches for the Tornadoes. Tyson’s second score made it 35-10 with nine minutes to play in the third. Clabough’s pick put Alcoa in first-and-10 at the Alcoa 44 one possession later. Wall found Love behind the Christian Academy secondary on the first play for a 42-10 lead.

The Warrick safety, followed by a Wall 19-yard touchdown run on the ensuing possession, made it 51-10, bring the mercy rule into effect.

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