by Rick Ford
The hot dogs and burgers hit the grill early at this annual battle between the Alcoa Tornadoes and the Maryville Rebels as tailgaters first staked their spots at 9am. By noon there was a line forming for a game that would not start for seven more hours. This is high school football in Tennessee.
Adding to the excitement, former All Pro receiver and Hall of Fame player, Jerry Rice arrived at 6pm to handle the coin toss and would spend the entire hour prior to kickoff signing autographs and standing for pictures with the ease of his many Super Bowl catches. He made lifelong memories for the youngest fans to the oldest.
The game started under a cloudless blue sky with 80 degrees and a cool breeze creating the perfect set up for this classic rivalry. The teams did not disappoint.
Following the opening kick off, the Rebels would march down the field and cap off an impressive drive with a sweep around the left side of the Maryville line for the game’s first score with 8 minutes to go in the first quarter.
Alcoa didn’t blink. Taking the resulting kick off, the Tornadoes would put together a grinding drive of their own and, with 5:55 to go in the opening stanza, would punch the ball in from the five, making the score 7-6. Alcoa would miss the extra point leaving the Tornadoes sown by one.
The Tornadoes and Rebels would exchange possessions through most of the second stanza with Maryville finally breaking the standoff with a score at the 3:45 mark. They would complete the extra point and set the score to 14-6. Alcoa would intercept a poorly thrown Rebel pass with 1:15 to go, but could not mount a scoring drive and the half would with Maryville holding on to an 8 point lead.
The third quarter would be a defensive struggle with both teams moving the ball between the 30s, but neither able to find the end zone and the quarter would end as it had begun at Maryville 14-Alcoa 6.
That would all change in the fourth. Just as it had in the first quarter, the Rebels scored first and quickly at the 11:32 mark of closing period, making the score 20-6. They would miss the extra point.
Maryville would add another score midway through 4th quarter, but the fighting Tornadoes would not give up. With 7:12 to go in the game, Alcoa’s quarterback would break free and scamper 60 yards for the score. Once again, they would miss the extra point, but remained within one score of at least a tie.
It was not to be. The last stanza would see no more scoring and the Maryville Rebels would leave Alcoa’s field victorious. Maryville’s Shawn Provo, #22, would be named the game’s MVP.
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- Maryville vs. Alcoa – 2011