What:Class 3A playoffs opening round
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Records: Alcoa (10-0), Sweetwater (5-5)
Radio: Blount Today Sports Radio, WLHR 97.9 FM
The season: The No. 1-ranked Tornadoes have looked every bit the part of a six-time defending state champion as they begin the quest for No. 7. Middlesboro, Ky., was simply destroyed, 64-0, in the season opener, with a wild, 35-31 win over rival Maryville the following week the only close game Alcoa would see until the final week of the regular season. Christian Academy of Knoxville would throw a scare into the Tornadoes before falling, 50-33, in the district title game at Goddard Field. No other Alcoa opponent could manage more than a touchdown as Tornadoes outscored the competition, barring the Maryville and CAK games, 398-24.
The Wildcats and Tornadoes share two common opponents. Sweetwater fell to Loudon, 35-6, four weeks ago. Alcoa disposed of its District 4AA rival, 42-3. The Wildcats defeated McMinn Central, 20-6, three weeks ago. The Tornadoes blanked the Chargers, 51-0, two weeks ago in Englewood.
Keep an eye on: As destructive as Alcoa’s Tornadoes have been this season, Christian Academy uncovered some weakness a week ago. Warrior quarterback Quinn Epperly lit up the Tornado secondary for 302 yards and five touchdowns. The Tornadoes aren’t likely to afford another opponent that many chances to throw for a while. Alcoa backs Darrell Warren, Vanderbilt Hambrick, Taharin Tyson and Ezekial Koko will want this one all to themselves. Hambrick needs 7 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Warren and Tyson are both averaging better than 10 yards per carry.