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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)

MURFREESBORO - The Alcoa High School football program always gets an early season test against rival Maryville.

Alcoa will be tested in a unique fashion before it even meets the Rebels in 2014.

Alcoa finalized its schedule Friday, and in Week 0 it will play two games in a three-day span before preparing to face Maryville in Week 1.

Alcoa, the defending Class 3A champion, will welcome Smith County on Thursday, Aug. 21. The Tornadoes will then play Morristown East two days later in the Citizen Tribune Kickoff Classic.

Smith County finished 6-5 last season and reached the 3A playoffs. Morristown East went 10-2 and reached the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

"Very unique," Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said of his team's opening week. "We were desperate (for a 10th game). There wasn't any doubt about that.

"But not desperate enough to put any kids in danger. When you look at it from the outside in, it looks like a pretty crazy thing to do.

"Nobody's going to play two games in three days. We're going to make sure, almost like a pitcher's count, that we know how many plays they get."

The scenario isn't a far-fetched one in Tennessee. Southwind, which is located in Memphis, won three games in a seven-day span just last season.

Alcoa will receive $5,000 for playing in Morristown.

"We're going to bring in some revenue for traveling," said Alcoa athletic director Josh Stephens. "So it's a win-win for us.

"There's some revenue for us. It's a 10th game. We couldn't have come out any better, I don't believe."

Alcoa will also have a bye week following the Maryville game and another Oct. 10.

"How it will affect us the next week against Maryville was one of my questions," said Rankin. "I can't answer that until we play."

March 15, 2014
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