ALCOA — Region 2-3A bully Alcoa entered the 2018 season with expectations of another state championship, and nothing about the Tornadoes’ display of firepower against Scott High on Friday would’ve made anyone think any different.
Alcoa rushed for 264 yards, passed for 203 more and finished with 467 yards of offense despite a shortened second half that saw the clock run continuously. The game was essentially out of reach in the first quarter, when the Tornadoes put three scores on the board. Three more touchdowns in the second quarter, along with a safety, gave Alcoa a 44-point lead en route to a 50-0 victory that was its largest in the 11-game series with the Highlanders.
“They’re a quality, quality football team,” Scott High coach Josh Terry said afterward. “They’ve got pretty good Jimmys and Joes. (But) I like mine pretty good too, and they worked hard. The effort was there, we just have a little lack of experience here and there and then the wear and tear of the game got to us a little bit.”
Alcoa’s defense was just as good as its offense, as the Tornadoes limited the Highlanders to 85 total yards — an average of just over two yards per play — and four first downs.
There were bright spots for Scott High. The Highlanders had just one turnover — a season-low — and did not put the ball on the ground. They were also penalized just once for five yards. And freshman running back Ashton Rowe showed flashes of promise in the second half, playing in a reserve role.
Rowe finished as the Highlanders’ second-leading rusher, with 28 yards on seven carries. Dawson Branstetter finished with 29 yards on 10 carries.
Alex Rector finished four of nine through the air for 30 yards, with three of his four completions going to Grainger Smith for 19 yards. Mason Owens had one catch for 11 yards, which was the Highlanders’ longest play from scrimmage.
Smith and Owens each had six tackles to lead the Highlander defense. Brandon Carson finished with five tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage.
Alcoa wasted little time getting on the board, as Ahmauud Sankey scored on a 23-yard pass from Walker Russell on the Tornadoes’ first possession to give his team an early 7-0 lead.
After a Highlander interception, Tristan Blankenship scored on a three-yard run to make the score 14-0.
Later in the first quarter, Russell and Sankey hooked up again, with a touchdown play covering 15 yards.
The Tornadoes were threatening to score again as the second quarter started, but the Highlander defense rose to the occasion and, on fourth-and-two from the three, J.R. Jones was tackled short of the first down.
But the opportunistic Tornadoes turned that into more points, when Rector was dropped in the end zone on third down for a safety.
On the ensuing possession, Alcoa’s Isaiah Cox was on the receiving end of a 27-yard touchdown pass from Russell, pushing the lead to 30-0.
There was enough time remaining for two more first half touchdowns from the Tornadoes. The first was a five-yard run by Vaughn Tyson, the second a 36-yard pass from Russell to Zeke Rankin.
The Tornadoes’ first possession of the third quarter saw Jeffrey Bass score on a six-yard run, setting the final score at 50-0.