Friday Night Preview: Loudon at Alcoa

What: Class 3A second round

When: Friday

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Records: Alcoa (11-0), Loudon (9-2)

Radio: Blount Today Sports Radio, WLHR 97.9 FM

Previous meeting: The Tornadoes recovered three Redskin fumbles and got a Lajuan Warfield interception returned 31 yards for a touchdown — all in the third quarter, all resulting in Alcoa scores — to blow out Loudon, 42-3, in a regular season meeting at Goddard Field. The Tornadoes rushed for 271 yards, limiting the Redskins to 118 yards total. Loudon lost quarterback Wade Plemons to injury late in the first half, the Redskins trailing, 14-3, at the break.

Last week: The No. 1-ranked Tornadoes roared into postseason in pursuit of the school’s seventh state championship in a row with a 49-0, mercy-rule rout of Sweetwater in last week’s Class 3A opener at Goddard Field. Alcoa took advantage of two early Wildcat turnovers to race to the end zone for three touchdowns in the first three minutes.

Mr. Football finalist Darrell Warren ran for touchdowns on two of his three carries. Mr. Football finalist Vanderbilt Hambrick returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown, going over 1,000 yards on the season with his one carry out of the backfield. A third Mr. Football finalist, senior guard Derek Evans, helped the Tornadoes rush for a combined 275 yards, with fullback Taharin Tyson carrying twice for 38 yards and a score.

Plemons ran 43 yards with three minutes remaining to lift the Redskins to a 28-22 win over Howard. The Redskins recovered a Tiger fumble on the ensuing series and exhausted the remaining time. Backs Trey Townson and Luke Newman combined for 144 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Redskins yielded better than 250 yards rushing to the Tigers through three quarters.

Keep an eye on: The Tornadoes, seeking to extend the school’s win streak to an even 40 games, have won the last 10 meeting with the Redskins. Will having three players named finalists for Mr. Football this week prove a distraction for Alcoa? Giving up that many yards rushing to Howard doesn’t bode well for the Redskins. Alcoa is a lot better than Howard. Plemons is a super athlete and the Redskins sure missed him when he left early last time. Can he throw on the Tornadoes, though? That’ll tell you all you need to know.

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