MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- For three and a half quarters, Tennessee's two heavyweight football programs went toe-to-toe.
Even Alcoa head coach Gary Rankin used the heavyweight boxing analogy to describe the game, saying his Tornadoes lasted to the 13th round before the wheels came off.
In a game televised nationally on ESPN2, the Rebels outlasted Alcoa 42-24.
The game was much closer than the final score, but fourth quarter miscues by the Tornadoes helped the Rebels pull away.
"We closed it off there in the fourth quarter," quarterback Nick Myers said. "We ran the ball really good in the fourth quarter, tricked them a little bit. The (fumble on) that kickoff really sealed the deal. It was a good way to finish the game."
Rankin knows you can't beat a quality team like Maryville by committing turnovers.
"We made some bad mistakes the last few minutes. We had some kids going both ways, but mentally we lost our edge there. At the end we fought them for about thirteen rounds. We just couldn't finish the fourteenth and the fifteenth."
Maryville has now won 31 straight games.
With the two schools located just seven miles apart, each with a storied tradition, the rivalry is among the best in the nation.
Maryville and Alcoa have a combined 25 state championships.
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