Alcoa seeks return to state football title game

Alcoa seeks return to state football title game

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The players changed between 2004 and 2010, but the results were always the same.

Alcoa came away with seven straight state high school football titles in those years and despite not winning one the past two seasons, the tornadoes were always contenders.

"It's different here than other years I've been here," said, head coach Gary Rankin,  the architect for those consecutive state titles.  

"You're expected to win state championships at Alcoa and that's the position I want to be in. You've got to be good and you've got to be lucky and a lot of things have to fall in place. Without a doubt the two best 3-A teams in the state were both in our region last year so it happens like that sometimes."

The tornadoes were good enough to win titles in 2011 and 2012-- but ran into district rival CAK twice in the playoffs-- losing both times by a combined three points.

The could face the Warriors in the playoffs again in 2013.

"It's always a thought. It's always in every body's head but everybody keeps their head on straight," said defensive tackle Braylon Young.

"They know Alcoa has the potential and we're 3-points away from back-to-back-to-back state championships."

Alcoa started full contact practice with other area teams on Monday.

"Coach has worked us hard this summer and it's finally nice to get back in pads, kind of show people what we can do finally, said receiver/defensive back John Riley McLaughlin.

"Instead of 7-on-7's they're fun but to actually be able to get in pads that's a great feeling."

The Tornadoes will approach the 2013 season with the same amount of enthusiasm, although the team will look a bit different.

"This is probably the youngest team we've had in the seven years I've been here," Rankin said after practice.

"We're very young. Our young kids are very good, I think, but you're still not ready early. We'll see. But for us to be pretty good, some of these sophomores are going to have to grow up because we're probably going to start 4-5, maybe up to six sophomores.

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