Alcoa line crucial in CAK rematch
By David Cobb | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tyler Robinson and Darrell Warren — both former Alcoa players and current Kentucky Wildcats — were each named Tennessee Class Mr. Football Lineman of the Year in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
A third Tornado, Alcoa’s left guard Thomas Loy, has been nominated to potentially make the total stand at three linemen in five years from a Gary Rankin-coached squad to receive the accolade.
Coach Rankin said his team has run the ball with physicality for years and that Friday will be no different when Christian Academy of Knoxville comes to Alcoa for the two schools’ 16th meeting over eight seasons with the winner moving on to claim the state title following seven consecutive playoff meetings.
“I think it’s one of the better offensive lines in the state,” Rankin said. “We’ve sure got some kids up there that are unselfish, and they want to play and win for Alcoa High School. They don’t care if they get their names in the paper. They don’t care (about) anything but winning ball games and helping us have a productive offense, and that’s what you want as a coach. They’re the unsung heroes, but they’re really not at our place, because we know how valuable they are.
“If anybody gets any special treatment at Alcoa High School it’s always an offensive linemen.”
Loy, Christian Academy of Knoxville’s Brett Kendrick, a UT commit who Alcoa will meet on the field Friday, and Chattanooga Howard’s Brandon Walters are the finalists for the 2012 rendition of the award that is given out to class AA’s best linemen the Monday before the state finals.
“It’s a big honor,” Rankin told The Daily Times. “It’s hard to get nominated, especially for an offensive linemen. There’s only three linemen nominated in that category out of two classifications. To be an offensive linemen nomination, it means you’ve really opened some eyes of different coaches you’ve played against. And Thomas has certainly done it. He’s a devastating blocker, takes a lot of pride in doing his job correctly.”
Loy also takes pride in his musical skills. He plays the trombone and sings, which is what the senior was doing when he was informed of his nomination.
“He (Rankin) called me down to the office, I think it was last Thursday,” Loy said. “He called me out of choral class and him and coach (Brian) Nix and Josh Stevens, they told me. It was pretty exciting.”
“It was good,” Rankin said. “We brought him into a room by himself and told him he had been nominated and selected as one of the three, what a great honor it was, and what a great accomplishment it was for him, our team and our community.
“He’ll be the first to tell you it’s a team award, and a lot of good people around him helped him.”
Among those helpers is a group of trench mates that Loy feels strongly about.
“The offensive line is really good this year,” Loy told The Daily Times. “We’re one of the best offensive lines, I think, to ever come through Alcoa High School. ... We work hard.”
While Loy acknowledged that being nominated for a Mr. Football award is a “tremendous honor,” he insisted that it hasn’t distracted him from what lies ahead for the Tornadoes, starting with Friday’s rematch of a 31-28 regular season ending victory over CAK that earned Alcoa the district 4-AA championship.
“I’m not really focused too much on the award,” Loy said. “That’s not really the big picture. The big picture is a state championship game. That’s what I’m working for, and what the team is working for.”
Alcoa had won a state championship seven seasons in a row before CAK upended the Tornadoes in the playoffs last season.