Blount Press Row

Realignment Restarts Alcoa/WB Series

Tornadoes, Governors planning Week 1 meeting in 2015
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William Blount receiver Joel Graham gets low as a pair of Alcoa defenders approach during the 2013 jamboree. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Next year’s change in the classifications for football means more to William Blount than different region opponents.

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

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

Alcoa’s back on.

The Governors and Tornadoes have reached an agreement to restart the series after a decade-long suspension, Alcoa athletics director Josh Stephens and William Blount athletics director and football coach Justin Ridge said.

“It’s a verbal agreement right now,” Stephens said. “We’re planning to play Week 1. It’s pretty much a done deal.”

With next season’s realignment, William Blount and Maryville will be part of a new Class 6A comprised of the state’s 32 biggest schools. All 32 schools qualify for the playoffs, doing away with concerns under the previous system of how scheduling the Class 3A Tornadoes could affect William Blount’s postseason chances, Ridge said.

“We’ve agreed we can afford to play them now because it doesn’t affect the playoffs,” he said. “Nothing affects the playoffs.”

A loss to a lower-classification opponent under the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s current playoff selection process can be damaging.

The Tornadoes and Governors last met on the gridiron in 2004, Alcoa winning, 20-7, in a state championship season. William Blount and Heritage both discontinued the series with Alcoa the next season, with the Mountaineers restarting the Blount County rivalry with the Tornadoes a year ago.

William Blount, with a 2014 enrollment of 1,741 students, received automatic inclusion in next season’s restructured Class 6A as the state’s 29th biggest school. Maryville, 1,604 students, was originally slated for 5A under the new system but moved up when LaVergne High School agreed to move down from 6A.

Similarly, Alcoa, 566 students, had 2014 enrollment numbers for Class 2A next season but requested and was granted a move to 3A.

Alcoa Schools Director Brian Bell made the recommendation the Tornadoes opt for 3A, their current classification, as the TSSAA’s Wednesday midnight deadline approached.

Heritage, 1,600 students, will move down a classification to 5A next season.

For a breakdown of 2014 enrollment numbers, visit the TSSAA link at http://tssaa.org/potential-football-classes-for-2015-16/

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