Blount Press Row

Widespread Destruction

Tornadoes roll by Upperman, 75-18, to return to championship game

112913-AHS-UHS-SemiFinals-4792Malik Love skips to the end zone ahead of an Upperman defender on Friday at Goddard Field. Photos by Jenifer Clark

By Heath Dunkel
For Blount Press Row

If you told someone there’s a quarterback with 70 touchdowns through 14 games, most would respond with how long have you been playing your video game and what stats did you change to make him so good?

The Tornadoes, led by running back Jaquez Tyson (2) roar onto the field on Friday.

The Tornadoes, led by running back Jaquez Tyson (2) roar onto the field on Friday.

Alcoa simply blew Upperman out, 75-18, in a Class 3A semifinal game Friday night at Goddard Field, the Tornadoes returning to the state championship game for the first time in two seasons.

Second-ranked Alcoa (12-1) will meet top-ranked Christ Presbyterian Academy (14-0) in a long-anticipated 3A BlueCross Bowl on Friday at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium.

Kickoff is 3 p.m. CST.

Christ Presbyterian stopped Lewis County, 36-28, in Friday’s other semifinal.

“We aren’t going to prepare any different,” Tornado quarterback Peyton Wall said. “We prepared for this game the same way we’ve prepared for every game this season. We are going to do the same thing we’ve always done.”

Upperman quarterback Connor York entered against Alcoa holding the Tennessee state-record for total touchdowns in a single season with 70, eclipsing former Christian Academy of Knoxville quarterback Charlie High’s 69. The dual-threat York had surpassed over 2,000 yards through the air and 2,000 on the ground, accounting for over 72 percent of his team’s offense on the season.

Tyson stiff arms a Bees defensive back en route to an Alcoa touchdown.

Tyson stiff arms a Bees defensive back en route to an Alcoa touchdown.

Alcoa started the game on offense and wasted no time finding its way to the end zone, Wall throwing 56 yards to Malik Love for a fast 6-0 lead.

“They jumped up in man and challenged us a little bit and we responded,” Tornado coach Gary Rankin said.

Two minutes later, Upperman responded, sophomore Austin Butler rushing 31 yards to tie the score. Like the Tornadoes, the Bees failed on the 2-point conversion try, knotting the score at 6-all with eight minutes to play in the first quarter.

With defensive adjustments by the Tornadoes, mistakes by the Bees on both sides of the football, Upperman did not see the end zone again until 8:27 left in the fourth quarter. Seven Tornado touchdowns in the interim gave Alcoa a commanding 61-6 lead.

The Tornadoes cut a path of widespread destruction following the Butler score. With the touchdowns beginning to add up fast, Upperman was soon up against a video nightmare:

Jaquez Tyson, 64-yard run, 14-6 Alcoa.

Zac Wright (42) and Braylon Young, rear, combine on the stop.

Zac Wright (42) and Braylon Young, rear, combine on the stop.

Tyson, 3-yard run, 21-6 Alcoa.

Caleb Woody, 71-yard pass from Wall, 27-6 Alcoa, and that was before the end of the first quarter.

Wall finished a brief 6-of-9 passing for 230 yards on the game.

The second quarter didn’t get any better for the Bees, with Tyson opening the festivities with a 19-yard touchdown run for a 34-6 lead. Wall brought the mercy rule into effect, 41-6, with a 45-yard scoring run with five minutes to play in the half.

Tyson, 39-yard run, backup quarterback Mitchell McClurg, 32-yard burst, and defensive back John Riley McLaughlin, 87-yard interception return, lifted Alcoa to a 61-6 bulge at the half.

Braxton Dockery, 72-yard kick return, and Karim Shereef, 68-yard scoring run, tacked on two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Tornadoes. York capped his record-setting season with touchdown runs of 30 and 23 yards in the fourth quarter.

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