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Alcoa's football program has won 18 state titles overall, including in 13 of its past 16 seasons. / The Daily Times file photo by Jabin E. Botsford

It's time to update life's certainties: death, taxes and Alcoa winning a state championship in football.

Coaches overseeing other programs in Class 3A should probably consider petitioning the TSSAA to move up as soon as possible. You've got a much better shot at beating larger schools in 4A than knocking off Alcoa, which wrapped up its 18th state title with a 27-0 BlueCross Bowl win against previously unbeaten Pearl-Cohn on Friday in Cookeville.

This championship is the Tornadoes' fifth straight and their 13th in 16 seasons. The three years they didn't win it all in this stretch were 2014 (they lost 7-0 to Christ Presbyterian Academy in the title game), 2012 (lost by two in the quarterfinals to eventual champ Christian Academy of Knoxville) and 2011 (lost by one in the quarterfinals to eventual champ CAK). So 10 points in three playoff losses are all that separate Alcoa from likely having won 16 straight titles.

In those 16 seasons, Alcoa has finished 15-0 or 14-1 (with its only loss coming to 6A power Maryville) 11 times. The team also has an overall record of 215-21 during that span, with 13 of those losses coming to Maryville (which will be playing for a 17th state title Saturday when it faces Ravenwood at Tennessee Tech).

The Tornadoes' only senior starters this year were four offensive linemen and a defensive back. That's it. The majority of the first string for Alcoa — which dominated five playoff foes by an average score of 51-7 — will be back in 2020.

Alcoa had two wins this season against 6A teams that advanced to the playoffs, and Friday's title game was the closest any 3A team came to the Tornadoes' in 2019. In his 14 seasons as Alcoa's coach, Gary Rankin is 187-18. He is 439-76 in 38 years as a head coach, with 21 appearances in a title game and 14 championships.

Chattanooga-area teams have lost 47 straight meetings with Alcoa, including 19 in a row in the playoffs. The last area team to beat the Tornadoes was Meigs County in the 1995 semifinals.

The football definition of futility is competing in 3A and hoping to have a shot at prying Alcoa's hands from the gold ball trophy.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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