After a hot 5-0 start to the season, Alcoa was taken down by one of the best teams in the state last week.
The Tornadoes faced their first loss of the season to West, 29-26, after mistakes compounded late and the Rebels capitalized.
The Tornadoes had to use a timeout late after they brought the PAT unit on instead of the offense and were forced to burn another the next drive when the Rebels caught them off guard on fourth down.
“We always talk about how the small details matter the most in a big game like that,” Alcoa head coach Brian Nix said. “The minor thing of having to burn those two timeouts on that last drive. In a game like that, it’s the ultimate difference.”
Despite the loss, Nix is finding positives to take away. The adversity in the middle of the season can help the team face it better down the stretch.
“It’s a great learning lesson for our guys,” Nix said.
“You just have to continue to play the next play and not let the highs get too high and the lows get too low.”
Alcoa’s focus now shifts to Cookeville at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Tornadoes are looking to use the practices heading into the game to make adjustments, tweak the game plan and come out of the loss last week a better team.
“Every time you play a good team, win or lose, it should make you better,” Nix said.
“Good teams get better after wins, great teams get better after losses.”
For Nix and his coaching staff this week, that means putting pressure on his team to be ready for any situation, like bringing the field goal unit on in a moment’s notice and practicing other game-like situations.
“To me, you want to be demanding, but you still want to be more upbeat,” Nix said. “We’re not down on them, but that’s why it’s so important that you practice those minute details, because it’s the smallest things that cost you those games.” While working out the kinks is key, Nix has also made a point to recognize what the team has been doing well and ensuring they continue to do those tings well.
“The strength of our team this year is execution, it’s discipline, it’s toughness,” Nix said.
“We’re a really good team, I don’t know if I can tell you we have just one stand out area. I think this team is solid in every aspect of the game, but if you don’t come in and play solid and play disciplined, it’s not like you have just that one thing to overcome.”
Nix is also making sure his team doesn’t overlook the Cavaliers. While they have gotten off to a shaky start, they will be looking to take advantage of a team that got shaken last week.
“I think they’re a solid team, I think they’re a good team,” Nix said.
“And I’m glad we’re playing someone good right after that loss because I want our guys to go out and execute and understand that this is going to be a competitive game.”