Blount Press Row

Stick and Move!

Tyson touchdown run steals the show in Tornado opener

IMG_4942Alcoa senior Jaquez Tyson pulls free of a couple more tackles en route to a memorable touchdown run Thursday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

“Float like a butterfly.

Keishaun Johnson intercepts an Owl pass.

Keishaun Johnson intercepts an Owl pass.

“Sting like a bee.

“Rumble, young man, rumble!”

The butterfly part of Muhammad Ali’s famous quotation probably doesn’t fit, but Jaquez Tyson sure did rumble Thursday night.

Eight Tornadoes scored touchdowns as Alcoa rolled to a 54-13 win over Smith County in season opener for both teams, but Tyson’s 49-yard, tackle-busting extravaganza was easily the most memorable in the first game on Goddard Field’s new artificial turf.

Darting into the line over right guard, the All-State back spun, bashed, twisted and shed an estimated seven tackles en route to a touchdown that put the Tornadoes out front, 19-0, with four minutes yet to play in the opening quarter.

“It busted open,” Tyson said. “I got about 5 yards, and they just swarmed me.”

It was 35-7 Alcoa at the half in a brief night for the starters.

An estimated 70 Tornadoes played at least a snap.

Dustin Clabough returns a Smith County punt for a touchdown as Tornado teammate Garrett Livesay (46) provides the escort.

Dustin Clabough returns a Smith County punt for a touchdown as Tornado teammate Garrett Livesay (46) provides the escort.

Freshman quarterback Nick Robinson, No. 95 in the game program, scored Alcoa’s final touchdown on a 5-yard run with three minutes remaining.

The Tornadoes get right back to work when they travel to Morristown East for the season’s second game Saturday night.

“I had three game plans on my desk (Thursday) morning, “ said Alcoa’s Gary Rankin, who now needs 12 wins to become the state’s all-time winningest coach. “I said, ‘This is crazy.’

“Saturday is a huge trap game. We’ll have to respond.”

Smith County yielded the pigskin after three plays on the game’s opening possession. Three plays later, Tornado quarterback Mitchell McClurg cut through the Owls on a 22-yard touchdown run. Excepting more than a handful of first-half penalties, it was quick work from there.

Dustin Clabough returned a Smith County punt 62 yards to put the Tornado lead at 13-0 with eight minute to play in the quarter. Clabough and fellow defensive back Caleb Woody worked the reverse on the score to spring Clabough down the sideline.

Woody returned a second Owl punt for an apparent touchdown, only to see the score nullified by penalty.

Tornado end Matthew McClurg shoves an Owl blocker out of the way to get to the ball.

Tornado end Matthew McClurg makes his way to the ball.

Tyson tallied next, with junior running back Karim Shereef pounding 24 yards off right tackle for a 27-0 advantage with 7:30 to play in the half. Right guard Kyle Malik Mitchell and right tackle Logan Turbyfill blew open a huge hole.

Devonta Milan broke up the shutout early with a 30-yard run with a minute to play in the half, only to see Tornado backup quarterback Jaylen Myers fire a strike to freshman Tykee Kellogg for 26 yards and a 35-7 Tornado bulge at the half.

The Owls got a 49-yard touchdown scamper from Milan midway through the third before junior Dylan Pratt, Alcoa’s third quarterback on the evening, brought the mercy rule into effect.

Kellogg set the table for the score with a 35-yard interception return. Pratt carried in from the 8 on the next play.

Freshman Owen Rogers, 5-yard run, and Robinson closed the scoring for the Tornadoes in the closing minutes.

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