By Wes Patrick
It was a night of firsts: the first regular season game of the 2019 season for the Blackman Blaze and Alcoa Tornadoes, the first game played on Blackman’s new turf field, and the first time Alcoa Head Coach Gary Rankin returned to Murfreesboro to coach since leaving Riverdale following the 2005 season.
Coach Rankin and the Tornadoes came into the new Bart Smith Field and beat the Blackman Blaze 23-14 Saturday night.
After both teams traded turnovers, and a missed field goal by Alcoa in the first quarter, the Blaze and Tornadoes settled in. A long pass delivered by Alcoa QB Sam Vaulton set up the first points of the game with a field goal which made it 3-0. Blackman responded when RB Antonio Malone took a handoff sixty-three yards for a TD. On their next possession, the Blaze got the ball down to the one yard line and Keiontae Newsom took a direct snap in for the score giving Blackman a 14-3 lead. It appeared the halftime score would be 14-3 until Blackman kicked off and right before the end of the half, Jr Jones of Alcoa took the kick off to the house for a ninety-three yard return. Alcoa failed on a 2 point conversion try making the halftime score 14-9.
The second half ended up being all Alcoa. The Tornadoes took the lead on a Sam Vaulton 5 yard rush for a TD early in the third quarter making it 16-14. In the fourth quarter, Sam Vaulton connected on a 15 yard TD pass to #7 Tristen Blankenship making it 23-14, which ended up being the final score.
Blackman looks to rebound in Week 2 as they host Ravenwood Friday night (8/30). Alcoa will look to go 2-0 as they host Austin-East next Friday as well.