Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Alcoa (5-0), Howard (4-0)
Previous meeting: Record-setting running back JaRon Toney lit up the Tigers for five touchdowns as the Tornadoes powered away to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a 49-0 blowout last season in Chattanooga. Receiver Steven Isom hauled in a 69-yard touchdown pass from Austin Tallant, and the Alcoa defense held Howard to minus 13 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Last week: After Scott County tied the game at 7-all in the opening quarter, the top-ranked Tornadoes raged to F5 stage and pounded the Highlanders, 49-7. Junior Vanderbilt Hambrick ran for three scores. Senior Taharin Tyson ran for two. Isom caught a 43-yard bomb from Tallant, with senior Darrell Warren adding a sixth rushing score.
Eighth-ranked Howard knocked off Red Bank, 26-21, last week when back up quarterback Darrion Roshell kept on the option for 33 yards and a touchdown with eight minutes left. Roshell was only in the game to give starter Thomas McCaulay a chance to catch his breath.
Keep an eye on: Just watch what happens at the line of scrimmage. The Tigers are 4-0 for the second time in three years and are a much improved team from a year ago, but Alcoa’s offensive line is still pretty big and beefy. Last season, Howard primarily had Toney to concern itself with. Warren, Tyson and Hambrick present problems most defensive coordinators don’t even want to think about. The offense gets a lot of the attention because of all the scoring the Tornadoes have done this season, but, excepting Maryville, Alcoa has allowed four opponents only 10 points. And this from a defense that lost all three linebackers and two defensive linemen after last season’s sixth consecutive state title.