Alcoa/Maryville game moving to Saturday

The Alcoa and Maryville football teams will begin the 2011 football season on Saturday.

A week later, when the two schools renew one of the state’s oldest and fiercest rivalries, they’ll stay with format.

The defending state champion Rebels and Tornadoes will open the season with the Maryville/Alcoa Kickoff Classic doubleheader Aug. 20 at Maryville’s Shields Stadium. The Tornadoes will meet Cleveland at 5 p.m., with the Rebels following against defending Division II champion Webb at 7:30.

The Alcoa/Maryville clash, originally scheduled for Thursday of the following week as part of the State Farm Rivalry Series, has been moved to Saturday, Aug. 27 at Goddard Field with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“It (the Alcoa/Maryville game) is going to be live on TV again,” Alcoa athletics director Josh Stephens said, “and we didn’t want to do a Saturday/Thursday (scenario).”

Stephens said he and Maryville coach/athletics director George Quarles were initially hesitant about the State Farm contest a year ago, fearing a televised contest would hurt gate receipts. An overflow turnout last season at Shields Stadium alleviated those worries, Stephens said.

“We were concerned about the crowd being down (because of television),” he said, “but the turnout was not a big problem. Financially, it worked out great for everyone.”

Alcoa, which won a record seventh consecutive state championship last month in Cookeville, will enter the game with the Blue Raiders riding a school-record 43-game winning streak. The Rebels and Tornadoes have now won 12 state crowns each in the playoff era, a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association record.

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