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CAK beats Alcoa 24-14

Friday, Oct. 28, was a night of firsts for Christian Academy of Knoxville’s football team.

For the first time in school history, CAK beat seven-time defending state champion Alcoa, 24-14. The Warriors (8-2, 5-0) are also District 4-AA champions for the first time.

After the win, fans rushed the CAK field to celebrate.

“It’s probably the biggest win we’ve had, to finally beat Alcoa and to finally get over that hurdle,” CAK head coach Rusty Bradley said. “I’m so proud of these guys and how hard they played.”

Inside linebacker Colby Maddux agreed: “that is a huge milestone for us.”

A large part of the win was due to CAK’s defense. Alcoa (6-4, 4-1) only managed 49 yards in the entire first half. “I’m so happy for Dad [defensive coordinator Mark Bradley]; I’m so happy for those guys on defense. They’ve kind of been tagged as the weak link all year,” Bradley said.

Cornerback Jordan Ritchie said, “We keyed in on their team’s runners, Vanderbilt Hambrick and D.J. Oggs. They’re great players, but our coaches put us in the right positions to make plays this week.”

The Warriors defense forced two fumbles inside the 10-yard-line, both recovered by CAK.

Maddux, a senior who had 68 tackles in the regular season, said, “We were pumped up. We have some size, and we just haven’t used it all year. I guess we used it tonight.”

Quarterback Charlie High (11-of-19, 100 yards, one TD, one interception) praised his defense. “Holding Alcoa to 14 points is a huge accomplishment,” he said.

CAK’s offense generally hinges on the passing game. In the regular season, High completed 236 of 330 passes for 3,388 yards and 42 touchdowns. CAK averaged 343.7 passing yards per game and only 84.5 yards rushing. Against Alcoa, the Warriors rushed for 204 yards.

Rusty Bradley, also the team’s offensive coordinator, said the decision to focus on the run was made during the game. Alcoa was “dropping linebackers deep for pass coverage so we wanted to take advantage of that,” he said. “It worked out well for us.”

Tailback Corey Rathbone had 27 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns. “My offensive line stepped up to the plate, which they have all year ... I had holes bigger than I’ve ever had. It was great,” he said.

CAK, a No. 2 seed, will host No. 7 Sweetwater (5-5) in the first round of Class 3A playoffs starting at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4.


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