Special teams mistakes doom East Nashville as Alcoa wins seventh consecutive title

A tough stretch in the second quarter put East Nashville in a hole it couldn’t recover from on Thursday as the Eagles fell 45-14 to Alcoa in the Class 3A BlueCross Bowl championship game at Chattanooga’s Finley Stadium. The Tornadoes won their seventh consecutive championship, matching their run from 2004-2010.

East Nashville players take the field prior to Thursday’s BlueCross Bowl championship game against Alcoa. (Kevin Smith/615 Preps)

Notes from the game:

How it went down: East Nashville lost a fumble off a bad snap on its first series inside the Alcoa 20-yard line. A blocked punt, a punt that hit a blocker and a fumbled kickoff return allowed Alcoa to reel off 21 second-quarter points in a span of 4:39, putting the Tornadoes up 28-0 before Zacc Beard found the end zone for the Eagles late in the half. Beard connected with Frank Gordon for a 12-yard touchdown on East Nashville’s first drive of the third quarter, but the Tornadoes scored the game’s final 17 points.

Notable numbers: Alcoa held East Nashville to 124 total yards of total offense … Alcoa’s average starting field position began at East Nashville’s 45-yard line … East Nashville was 3-of-13 on third downs.

Turning point: A blocked punt, a punt that hit a blocker and a fumbled kickoff return allowed Alcoa to reel off 21 second-quarter points in a span of 4:39, putting the Tornadoes up 28-0 late in the first half.

Key performers: Alcoa’s Caden Buckles won Most Valuable Player honors with 12-of-17 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown, plus 14 carries for 52 yards and three scores … Aaron Davis led the Alcoa defense with 12 total tackles (five solo) … Frank Gordon caught six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown for East Nashville and added an interception as well … Amarion Ford rushed 29 times for 108 yards for the Eagles … Khalito Archibald was East Nashville’s leading tackler with eight total (seven solo).

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