MARYVILLE - One of the most anticipated games of the high school football season takes places Friday night.
Maryville and Alcoa face off at 7:30 p.m. at Maryville High School in the longstanding annual rivalry game between the Blount County foes.
"This is something when you're growing up, looking forward to playing for Maryville High School, this is one of the games you look to," Rebels' head coach George Quarles said.
Both Maryville and Alcoa enter Friday night's game with 3-0 records.
"It's a big deal, especially to me," senior linebacker T.D. Blackmon said. "Alcoa's always been our biggest rival, so it's just good to compete against them."
Quarles, an 11-time state championship head coach at Maryville, doesn't have to provide much motivation for this game.
"It's a game that you don't have to do a whole lot of motivating or a pep talk to get them ready to play," Quarles said during Tuesday's practice. "If anything, you've got to kind of temper the emotions a little bit.
"Our message is to try to make this as normal as possible," Quarles said. "Focus on our assignments, focus on blocking and tackling and doing what we're supposed to do."
Maryville is coming off of a 41-17 road win against Jefferson County.
"[Alcoa's] not going to beat themselves," Quarles said. "You have to beat them, and that's a big challenge."
Maryville has won five of the previous contests against Alcoa.Alcoa also won on the road in its last contest in a 41-7 win against Loudon.
Blackmon, a 2015 Class 6A Mr. Football winner, has mixed emotions about playing his last game in the rivalry.
"It's sad, but it's exciting because you want to leave on a win," Blackmon said. "You can't lose your senior year to Alcoa."
Fans can watch Friday's PrepXtra Game of the Week starting at 7:30 p.m. on 10News2 or MeTV. Pregame coverage starts at 7 p.m., and fans can also watch the live stream on WBIR.com.
(© 2016 WBIR)