CPA Swept Away By Tornadoes
In the final chapter of their Blue Cross Bowl trilogy with Alcoa, CPA was unable to mount any long, sustained drives and struggled to stop the Tornadoes in the second half. The Lions fell by a score of 20-0 in a cold afternoon in Cookeville.
Defense Dominates First Half
In a battle of two top defenses, both offenses struggled to move the ball. The teams traded punts twice in the first quarter, with both teams failing to reach 30 yards of offense. On the first drive of the second quarter, CPA would get a big pass play from Zack Weatherly to Wallace Barrett for 45 yards. The Tornado D would stiffen and force a 46-yard field goal attempt. Harrison Myers would hit the field goal, but a false start would negate the kick and push it back 5 yards. On the ensuing attempt, Myers’ kick would sail just left and the game would remain scoreless. A 31-yard run from Alcoa quarterback Jaylen Myers would set up a 28-yard Ben Smith field goal to give the Tornadoes a 3-0 lead. The teams would trade turnovers in the CPA end of the field and would head to the locker room with Alcoa still holding the field goal advantage.
Alcoa Controls Clock, Second Half
Alcoa would receive the opening kickoff of the second half and chew up nearly four and a half minutes of game time
on their way to a 2-yard touchdown run by fullback Malik Salter. The Tornadoes would force a CPA punt. Alcoa’s next drive would wrap up the third quarter before Salter would punch in a 1-yard touchdown on the first play of the 4th quarter. After another CPA 3 and out, Alcoa would chew up another 4 minutes of game time on the way to a 28-yard Smith field goal, setting the final margin at 20-0.
At halftime, Alcoa held a total yardage advantage of 94 yards to 90. The final yardage margin would end at 334 yards to 93 in favor of the Tornadoes. Alcoa’s option run offense would possess the ball 32:35, allowing CPA’s time of possession end up at a mere 15:25 and run 67 plays against CPA’s 31. Alcoa finished the game with 19 first downs, opposed to the Lions’ 4. The difference would become more apparent as the Lions defense would tire down as the game went along.
Lions coach Ingle Martin said, “[Alcoa] gave Maryville their closest game of the year, so we felt like we maybe played the second best team in the state. Gary Rankin knows how to get his kids ready. We’re proud of our kids. Our seniors played one game fewer than the maximum number of games they could play in a career. We had our opportunities to get the ball, but the biggest thing is they kept to their game and the ball bounced their way.”
The Lions will now look to reload after losing a large senior class, including quarterback Zack Weatherly, running back Chip Omer, receivers Price Perdue and Wallace Barrett, and linebacker John Orr. This CPA senior class finishes their careers having played in 59 of a possible 60 games and finishing with a record of 55-4 and winning the 2014 Class 3A State Championship. Talent remains for Ingle Martin to build around, including James Deaton and Andrew Howard, to make it back to the 3A Blue Cross Bowl next year.