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No. 1 Alcoa ends CAK season, Young career


ALCOA — Bittersweet.

That’s how the night turned out for Bill Young, coach of the CAK Warriors as they breezed into Alcoa High School’s Tornado Alley, hoping for the best.

Alcoa’s Tornadoes (10-2, 7-0 in Region 2-2A) served notice early — and often — they were not to be denied victory as the better team in a 50-7 rout that kept Alcoa’s hopes of defending its Class 2A state championship alive in the TSSAA playoffs.

But after 37 years of coaching at CAK, Oak Ridge and Bearden High School, where he had three stints, Young had to confess he was content with his career, his season and his feisty players’ determined effort. If not with the outcome of Friday’s contest.

With 20 seconds left and the game’s outcome obvious, officials halted play so Alcoa Coach Gary Rankin, his staff, team and fans in the stands could pay tribute to Young’s long career.

As Young met Rankin at midfield, the game’s announcer commended Young’s “lifetime of dedication to football” and noted “the difference he made in young lives” at all three schools where Young coached.

After game’s end, Young led his battered, muddied players and those of Alcoa in repeating the Lord’s Prayer. Many Alcoa players congratulated Young on a fine season. “That was a nice tribute,” a smiling Young said as he clutched the game ball beneath his arm, tighter than the burliest running back could.

“Alcoa players were gifted and well-coached,” he added. “We had difficulty moving the football all night. When it was twenty-eight-nothing at the quarter, my boys wouldn’t give up. But [Chris] Shiverdecker and the others are awfully good players, and I knew pretty well we couldn’t overcome that.

“At the beginning of this season, I really didn’t know what to expect of this bunch,” Young added with a grin. “But for me, this whole season has been one, long high point — even tonight.”

Tough wins over Sweetwater and Rockwood had especially pleased him, Young said.

“Tonight, our players did about all we could ever ask of them,” the veteran coach said. In the game, the season and his long career, Young added, “there’s really nothing I would’ve done differently.”

The Warriors, ending their season 8-4 (4-3, third in 2-2A), had difficulty from the get-go sustaining drives Friday. Three-and-out became a first-quarter mantra.

Alcoa, meanwhile, scored in the first five minutes on Shiverdecker’s 11-yard run; then on quarterback Randall Cobb’s 57-yard connect with Sam Thompson, and again on another Shiverdecker ramble with 30 seconds left in the quarter.

Alcoa’s stingy defense kept CAK quarterback Chris Cates bottled up, and his receivers, well-defended, dropped several passes.

CAK’s best drive of the night featured catches by Jeremy Miller and scrambles by Keenan Kolinsky, which led to a 19-yard Ryan Geist touchdown that made it 28-7 with 2:35 left in the first half.

CAK, however, had managed just four first-half first downs, 101 yards passing and minus-9 yards to show for teammates’ rushing efforts for the game.

 

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