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PREVIEW: Maryville vs. Alcoa (TN)

August 23, 2012

The Maryville Rebels are set to kickoff against the Alcoa Tornados on August 24th at Noon. Both teams are rich in tradition, having a combined 25 state championships between them. This rivalry dates back to 1927, with Maryville leading the series 57-23-3. Attendance records are set to be broken in this year’s battle now that ESPN is televising the game nationally. Upwards of 10,000 fans are expected to pack Maryville’s football stadium to witness Tennessee high school football at its best.

Maryville is coming off back-to-back state championships and carries a 29-game winning streak into the 2012 season with their last loss coming against Alcoa in the 2010 season opener. The Rebels have 13 state titles overall with nine under head coach George Quarles. The Rebels will put a 31-game win streak on the line against Alcoa after defeating Cleveland in the season opener. Maryville is the preseason favorite to win the Class 6A championship. One would have to go all the way back to 2003 to find the last time the Rebels did not make the championship game. The Rebels do, however, have to replace 11 seniors from last year’s squad including quarterback Patton Robinette, who signed with Vanderbilt. Expectations are sky-high with Maryville being ranked #68 in national preseason poll

Alcoa is coming off a subpar season, at least according to their standards, after posting an 8-5 record in 2011. The Tornadoes lost in the 3A state quarterfinals last year, stopping their streak of 7 consecutive state titles. Before that, one would have to go back to 2003, just like Maryville, to find the last time the Tornadoes did not make the state championship game. The Tornadoes have 12 overall state championships, 5 of them coming under head coach Gary Rankin. Coach Rankin has 9 state championships, 4 of them at a previous coaching stint with Riverdale. Injuries plagued Coach Rankin’s team last year, but with senior Ezekiel Koko coming back, expectations are high. Koko missed all of the 2011 season, but is back and is better than ever. He will line up at running back and linebacker for the Tornadoes.

A state championship march continues for both of these teams under eyes of the nation on Sunday.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.