ALCOA — One of the best teams in Pigeon Forge High School history met up with Class 3A juggernaut Alcoa Friday night in the quarterfinals of the TSSAA football playoffs. The results were not pretty.
The Tornadoes (12-1 overall) scored on every first-half possession and led 42-0 at halftime before cruising to the eventual 52-0 final score.
The Tigers, making an appearance in the playoffs’ third round for the first time ever, were outmatched but fought until the game’s final whistle, making head coach Scott Meadows proud.
“Do not walk off this field with your head down, because you’ve got to think about everything that you’ve accomplished,” Meadows said to his team just after the game. “I’m super proud of you, and I love you to death.
“This is nothing to be ashamed of,” Meadows continued. “Guys, you were in the quarterfinals of the state — you were one of eight teams left. You ran into a group down here, that’s as good as anybody I’ve seen in … years. That’s just the way it is.”
The coach stressed to his young players that they must build on what this team’s seniors have built if they want the program to take the next step.
“I would like to meet them again in the quarterfinals next year,” Meadows said. “Be proud of what you’ve done … (and) underclassmen, do not be satisfied. Continue to build on what these guys have done.”
Like so many teams before them, the Tigers came into Alcoa knowing they’d be facing one of the state’s best teams, regardless of classification.
The Tornadoes haven’t been scored on since Sept. 23, shutting out opponents Cookeville, Tyler Academy, Austin-East and Gatlinburg-Pittman — who they beat last week 63-0 in the playoffs’ second round. The streak also includes a pair of COVID forfeits, when teams couldn’t take the field against the Tornadoes due to illness.
And beyond that dominant defense is an offense with seemingly limitless weapons.
On Friday night, Alcoa didn’t face a third-down until they were already leading 49-0 in the fourth quarter.
“They’re a tremendous football team,” Meadows said. “They haven’t been scored on in two months. They’re loaded at every position.
“In order for us to go to another level, they’ve set the bar way high. We’ve got to get to work and do better next year.”