Unbeaten Tornadoes power up for Seymour

Alcoa Middle School’s Brennan McMurray readies to plant a hard tackle on a Fulton receiver.

Alcoa Middle School’s Brennan McMurray readies to plant a hard tackle on a Fulton receiver.

We don’t even want to know what Ezekiel Koko could do with a set of clubs.

Koko and backfield mate Jared Crenshaw form a powerful rushing tandem for Alcoa Middle School, one Seymour will be hard pressed to slow in the Blount Today Middle School Game of the Week tonight at Alcoa High’s Goddard Field at 7 p.m.

Crenshaw and Koko both come with exceptional size and speed for middle school running backs. It’s the power both possess, though, especially the fleet-footed Koko, that sets them apart, Alcoa coach Tim Russell said.

The pair was helping Russell move some items from a storage facility to a nearby church recently when Koko piloted the golf cart they were using off the incline of a 4-foot ramp, one of the rear wheels caught over the edge.

“He gets off, lifts up the golf cart and puts it back on the ramp,” Russell said.

The scary part is Crenshaw, an offensive lineman turned fullback, may be stronger.

Alcoa’s dynamic duo has a big line up front clearing the way. In fact, big seems to be a theme with these Tornadoes.

“We’ve had bigger, but I had to go all the way back to Dustin Lindsey, Brandon Warren, Joei Fiegler and Martin White. Martin White weighed 270 pounds in the eighth grade.”

Corey Long and Thomas Loy provide much of the muscle for the unbeaten Tornadoes (6-0) up front this season. Long “just loves football,” Russell said, “and he really works at it.”

Crenshaw, Koko and a big line afford quarterback Korey Bach plenty of options. To the outside, Kenny Dean, Mustafa Anthony and Brennan McMurray are big-play receivers. Versatile eighth-grader Brandon Strissel returns from injury for the Seymour game, only expanding Bach’s options.

Strissel will line up everywhere from fullback to wide receiver for the Tornadoes.

Depth is not an issue at a school where more than half the eighth-grade population of 65 boys plays football.

“We’ve got 38 eighth-graders,” Russell said.

Unfortunately, the Tornadoes are likely without quarterback/linebacker Landon Turbyfill for the remainder of the season due to injury. It’s a big loss.

“He’d be a two-touchdown difference,” Russell said. “He’s that much better. It probably hurts more on defense.”

With more than a couple of wins this season coming by comfortable margins, Russell said he has been able to give reserves plenty of work.

“We really emphasize that team aspect of it, to where, even if you’re not one of the 11 out on the field, you’re still a part of this,” Russell said.

The rest of tonight’s schedule includes:

Sevier County at Carpenters, 7 p.m.

Eagleton at Northview, 7 p.m.

Maryville at Heritage, 7 p.m.

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