Ballard also passed for a touchdown as the top-ranked and defending state champion Greene Devils improved to 12-0. Greeneville will take on unbeaten Anderson County, which is ranked at No. 2, in next week’s quarterfinals.
Ballard rushed for four times 115 yards, scoring on runs of 24, 58 and 16 yards. He was 6 of 12 for 133 yards through the air, with his 32-yard scoring pass to Cameron Hite capping a 21-0 first quarter by the Devils.
From there, the Rebels got back in the game a bit on a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Luke Pollack. Greeneville, however, led 35-7 at halftime before Gillespie scored from 33 and 7 yards out in the third quarter.
Gillespie’s first score covered 17 yards in the opening period. He finished with 87 yards on nine carries.
The Rebels, whose season closed with an 8-4 record, were held to 90 yards of total offense.
Alcoa 56, Unicoi County 0
ALCOA—Quarterback Walker Russell completed 9 of 12 passes for 118 yards to complement a rushing attack of 254 yards and the three-time defending Class 3A champion Tornadoes (12-0) romped to the win over the Blue Devils.
Unicoi County’s Kody Lewis had 25 rushes for 90 yards and surpassed 2,000 yards for the season. Lewis also had a team-best seven tackles on the defensive end, while Brett Strother ended with four tackles.
Although it ended with the lopsided defeat, it was a banner year for the Blue Devils (9-3), who won their first playoff game in 33 years the previous week.
“We’re not happy with how tonight turned out, but when you step back, we’re proud of the year these guys had,” Unicoi County coach Drew Rice said. “These guys had a commitment all the way through the summer, and to see it pay off for them, it has been so rewarding.”