ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — Gary Rankin and the Alcoa football program have set the standard in the state of Tennessee. The Tornadoes have won six straight state championships and are expected to win number seven on Friday in Chattanooga.
The Tornadoes are trying to stay even keel and say they’re looking at Friday’s game just like any other on the schedule.
“We don’t ever get too high or too low around here. We don’t sit around bragging or hitting on our chest about who we are,” said Alcoa head coach Gary Rankin. “We practice the same. If you’re out here today watching practice it will look like it did the 2nd week of practice.”
“Whether we’re playing Tyner Academy, Gatlinburg-Pittman, Maryville it’s always the same preparation. No game is different than another, we just got to go out and execute the way we can, said Alcoa quarterback Caden Buckles. “It’s really just us following our coaches lead and them taking the reigns and letting us play the game.”
Alcoa’s success continued this season, they’re 12-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of 6A semifinalist Maryville. The Tornadoes won their three playoff games by a combined score of 157-12, but that doesn’t mean Rankin will let his kids look passed East Nashville in the 3A state championship game.
“They’re huge and they’ve got speed. You look at their record and they’ve lost four games but they’ve played games way above them in classification,” said Rankin. “They’re scary right now because they’re hot, they’re very confident so we’ll have to try to set a good tempo early for ourselves.”
“We can’t make stupid penalties and make sure we execute correctly,” he said. “I got to make sure I throw the ball right and run the ball right on every play.”
Rankin, who is 67 years old, has led Alcoa to 12 state championships and he’s won 16 overall. He’s not going to retire anytime soon.
“You get that question all the time does it ever get old, of course it never gets old,” Rankin said. “The rumor gets out every year that this is my last one but this is not my last year to coach. It is not my last year to coach.