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Week ending Nov. 23

Clark cranks out big second half rush in Tornado victory
Alcoa junior defensive end Ryan Clark closes on Christian Academy of Knoxville quarterback Cole Smith on Friday. Photo by Jenifer Clark

Ryan Clark proved a big part of the solution to a difficult problem for top-ranked Alcoa on Friday.

Year in and year out, Christian Academy of Knoxville fields one the most innovative passing attacks in the high school game, and it was no different in a Class 3A quarterfinal at Goddard Field. Warrior quarterback Cole Smith put to good use short and intermediate throws and the occasional run to stake Christian Academy to a 14-7 lead at the half.

Untitled-2Clark, the Barley’s/Blount Press Row Player of the Week, twice sacked Smith in the second half as the Tornadoes pulled even and then clear for a 35-14 win. The 6-foot-7 Clark, a junior, twice just missed the sack in the opening half. With opposite defensive end Jonathan Decker adding a sack and pass tipped at the line leading to Brenden Teeter interception, Alcoa bottled up the Christian Academy offense.

Tornado senior and Mr. Football finalist Jaquez Tyson then helped the Alcoa offense blow it open, garnering head coach Gary Rankin a state record-tying 368th career win. The Tornadoes travel to Chattanooga Notre Dame for Friday’s semifinal.

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