Pigeon Forge runs into Alcoa, 61-13
The Pigeon Forge Tigers were overwhelmed 61-13 by a tough Alcoa Tornadoes squad in a second-round playoff game on Friday night at Bill Bailey Stadium and Goddard Field.
The Alcoa team was grandly introduced with booming fireworks and a mock public-service announcement warning of certain destruction when taking on the Tornadoes (11-1), and then the home team backed up the introduction with a dominant first-half display.
Alcoa had more than 500 yards of offense and a 49-0 lead by intermission, and the Tigers (6-6) had yet to convert a first down heading into the halftime locker rooms.
Pigeon Forge’s longest first-half play was a six-yard pass from junior quarterback Tanner Sharp to sophomore Andrew McCarter on a 4th-and-11.
First-half highlights for the Tigers included a 61-yard punt by senior Devin Boyd, along with a 32-yard kickoff return by junior Jerrod Jinette.
But despite the offensive difficulties, missed tackles were the biggest problem for the Tigers.
"Yes, we had a lot of missed tackles," said Pigeon Forge coach Scott Meadows. "But Alcoa is very good everywhere, we knew that coming in.
"They’ve got a great football team, they’ve got a great coaching staff and they’ve got great fans. Bottom line, they’ve got a great program ... and we see where we need to get to.
"We don’t have anything to hang our heads about, because we’ve done something nobody else has done before at Pigeon Forge," Meadows continued, referring to the Tigers’ first-ever playoff victory last week against Sullivan North. "The bar is set so high by Alcoa’s standards ... they’re up here, and everybody else is down here.
"They’re just a great program. They’re just unbelievably good."
Alcoa junior running back Jaquez Tyson made breaking tackles a habit throughout the first half, totaling more than 200 rushing yards and three scores by halftime on runs of 87, 47 and 10 yards.
Alcoa senior running back Malik Love added two scoring runs of 81 and 14 yards in the first half, and senior quarterback Peyton Wall and sophomore quarterback Mitchell McClurg added TD runs of 61 and 31 yards respectively in the first half.
The Tigers offense faired better against the Alcoa subs to start the second half.
Sharp got a promising drive started with a 19-yard run for the initial first down of the night for the Tigers, doubling the Pigeon Forge offensive production on the night in the process.
The Tigers went on to convert four first downs on the opening third-quarter drive, and junior running back Chase Effler cracked the egg on the scoreboard with a six-yard TD run on a sweep left to cut the Tornado lead to 49-6 with 4:36 left in regulation.
But Alcoa answered on the ensuing possession with a long drive capped by a one-yard TD run by sophomore running back Devin Divine with 11:56 ito go. Freshman kicker Jackson Richards’ PAT kick was blocked by Pigeon Forge senior Scott LaFollette to hold the Tornado lead to 55-6.
The Tigers came back to face the Alcoa freshmen defense and moved quickly down the field for a score that came on a 21-yard run by freshman Anthony Baiamonte with 10:08 left, cutting it to 55-13 after Boyd’s PAT kick.
But Alcoa made it the eventual final when sophomore running back Karim Shereef broke free for a 26-yard TD run with 4:34 on the fast-moving mercy rule clock.