East Nashville finished runner-up in Class 3A for the second consecutive season, as Alcoa pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 45-26 victory that gave the Tornadoes their eighth consecutive Class 3A championship.
Notes from the game:
How it went down: The first half saw both teams trade blows as East Nashville pulled within one with 31 seconds to play in the second quarter before Alcoa (14-1) scored 10 points in the final half-minute of the half. The Eagles (12-3) trimmed the gap to 31-26 on a Trey Joyner touchdown reception from Zacc Beard, but the Tornadoes wore down East Nashville’s defense for 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Notable numbers: East Nashville outgained Alcoa in total offense 312-300, but Alcoa began five drives inside East Nashville territory … The Eagles ran for 166 yards in the first three quarters, but were held to minus-8 in the fourth quarter … East Nashville had possession for 16:39 in the first half, compared to 7:21 for Alcoa.
Turning point: After East Nashville cut the Alcoa lead to 21-20, the Eagles went with a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff and Alcoa went 51 yards in 23 seconds to take a 28-20 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, East Nashville failed to field the ball and Alcoa was ruled to have recovered at the Eagles’ 6-yard line, although replays showed a premature whistle as Alcoa did not gain possession of the ball before it went into the end zone, which would have been a touchback. The Tornadoes added a short field goal as the first half ended with Alcoa leading 31-20.
Key performers: Tre’Quan Waters rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries … Frank Gordon caught six passes for 79 yards to lead the Eagles’ receiving corps … Zacc Beard completed 10-of-17 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 49 yards and two scores on 15 carries … Trey Joyner caught three passes for 49 yards and a score for East Nashville … Kelan Anderson was East Nashville’s leading tackler with nine (three solo) … William Ofoegbu had three tackles for a loss for the Eagles … Zach Lunsford was the game’s Most Valuable Player with 8-of-13 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns for the Tornadoes … Luke Cannon caught all three of Lunsford’s scoring strikes, totaling 73 yards … Elijah Cannon rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries for Alcoa … Colby Barrett had 11 tackles (four solo) for Alcoa.