BY BRIAN HAMILTON
ALCOA – The Class 3A Tornadoes shut out Class 6A Cookeville 38-0 on Friday to improve their record to 6-1 on the season behind a strong night from quarterback Caden Buckles and a stout defense.
Alcoa had to resort to Buckles’ arm for most of the night, as the Cavalier defense held the Tornadoes to just 64 yards on 15 carries.
“We certainly didn’t have our way with them up front,” Alcoa head coach Gary Rankin said. “We ran the ball better in the second half, but they were pretty tough up there.”
Itty Salter ran for a 14-yard touchdown to give Alcoa an early 7-0 lead with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
Caden Buckles later hit Eli Owens for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 10:28 left in the second quarter, capping a 10-play, 88-yard drive. Elijah Cannon went into the end zone for a 1-yard score with 4:35 left in the half to put the Tornadoes up 21-0.
Buckles found Major Newman with 24 seconds before halftime for a 17-yard touchdown pass to send Alcoa to the locker room with a 28-0 advantage.
Owens caught another touchdown from Buckles from five yards out in the third quarter, increasing the Tornadoes’ lead to 35-0 with seven minutes left in the period. Bacon Lauderback booted a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to send Alcoa out with a 38-0 win.
Buckles threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-20 passing on the night. Major Newman caught four passes for 58 yards and a score.
The Tornadoes held Cookeville to just 71 total yards, with 50 coming through the air and 21 on the ground. The only bright spot for the Cavaliers was a 26-yard reception from Evan Whited.
Alcoa (6-1, 3-0 Class 3A Region 2) will have the week off before hosting Union County (1-4, 0-2) in a region matchup on October 15. Cookeville (1-6) will travel to Coffee County (3-4) on October 15.