Alcoa claims third consecutive state championship, 16th in program history

Alcoa is king of Class 3A once again.

The Tornadoes won their third consecutive state championship and fourth in five years, defeating Covington 31-20 to win the title Thursday in the BlueCross Bowl inside Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium.

It is the program’s 16th state championship, tying Maryville for the most in Tennessee history for the time being. The Rebels play for their 17th state championship against Cane Ridge on Friday at 8 p.m. EST.

Thursday’s victory also marks head coach Gary Rankin’s 13th state championship, passing former Maryville coach George Quarles for the most in state history.

Junior Kareem Rodriguez broke the game open in the fourth quarter with a pair of scores in the span of seven minutes, three seconds. The first came a play after an Alcoa turnover on downs on Covington’s 14-yard line when Rodriguez recovered a Ke’shan Gant fumble in the end zone. Later, he scored on a two-yard touchdown run following a Chargers turnover on downs on their own six-yard line.

Senior defensive back Cameron Woody intercepted a Sterling Lomax pass on the Covington possession sandwiched between those two Rodriguez touchdowns.

It was no surprise that Alcoa’s defense led the charge in the title game, as the unit has allowed just 7.18 points per game during their 11-game winning streak, with 31 of their 79 points allowed during that stretch coming in a 35-31 win over Dobyns-Bennett.

Offensively, the Tornadoes rushed for 207 yards and controlled the line of scrimmage. Junior running back Jalen McCord tallied the highest yardage output on the ground with 76 yards, while junior quarterback Walker Russell and junior running back K’Vaughn Tyson each recorded touchdowns.

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