Despite the disappointing premature ending to their season, four Signal Mountain football players earned spots on the Tennessee Sports Writers Association's Class 4A all-state team. Eagles quarterback Reese Phillips, receiver Jon Patton, defensive lineman Elijah Turnage and linebacker Zack Bowman are joined as 4A all-staters by Red Bank defensive back Deres Benn and Notre Dame receiver Matt Reilly.
Making it on the 3A team were Tyner linebacker Chandler Patrick, Bledsoe County athlete Brandon Smith and offensive lineman Jesse Sandell, Sequatchie County offensive lineman Austin Lamb and defensive back Jerry Fain and Polk County offensive lineman Derek St. John and defensive back Alex Akins.
A junior in his first season as the Eagles' starting quarterback, Phillips threw for 1,895 yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Patton caught 58 passes for 963 yards and seven TDs, while Bowman had 103.5 total tackles and Turnage, a junior, also was named the district defensive lineman of the year.
"I think that speaks for the hard work those kids put in, and we're very proud of them," Eagles coach Bill Price said. "It also gives the younger kids something to strive for. Having Reese back on offense and Elijah back on defense is a good nucleus to build on on both sides of the ball."
Benn led the area with eight interceptions, and Reilly led the area with 1,240 receiving yards and 20 TDs.
Patrick had 115.5 total tackles to lead Tyner's defense, and that included 23 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Few players were as well-rounded as Bledsoe County's Smith, who rushed for 1,428 yards to go with 709 receiving yards and totaled 29 TDs. Much of that offense came courtesy of Sandell's blocking as the Warriors won their third straight district title and won 10 games for the first time in 16 years. Sandell, a junior, had 18 pancake blocks and did not allow a sack.
"That's such an honor for those two guys, and this is a big deal for our program to get that type recognition," Bledsoe coach Jason Reel said. "I think they realize that their teammates helped them earn that because of the season we accomplished as a team. But those two kids are very deserving."
Fain ran for 14 TDs and more than 1,300 yards behind Lamb and his line mates and also played in the Indians' secondary. Akins, who also played quarterback with more than 700 passing yards, intercepted five passes.
TSWA Class 3A All-State
QB--Charlie High (Christian Acad. of Knoxville), Keenan Reynolds (Goodpasture); WR--Josh Smith (Christian Acad. of Knoxville), Davis Howell (Christian Acad. of Knoxville), Deondre Moore (Fairview); RB--Dalton Boles (West Greene), Julius Montgomery (Chuckey-Doak), Curtis King (Austin-East); ATH--Brandon Smith (Bledsoe County), D.J. Oggs (Alcoa), Vic Wharton (Christ Presbyterian Acad.), Jyshon Forbes (Austin-East); OL--Jesse Sandell (Bledsoe County), Damani Taylor (Westview), Austin Lamb (Sequatchie County), Derek St. John (Polk County), John Tucker Rankin (Alcoa), William Gass (Christian Acad. of Knoxville); K--Caleb Appleton (Milan).
DL--Hunter Thurley (Christ Presbyterian), Michael Cain (Whites Creek), DeMarcus Nolan (Austin-East), Matt Smith (Elizabethton), Davey Maddox (Marshall County); LB--Arkel Coleman (Milan), Chandler Patrick (Tyner), Jarod Henderson (Austin-East), Logan Cavender (Fairview), Cole Baxley (South Greene), Camden Winzenburg (Christian Acad. of Knoxville), Jarod Crenshaw (Alcoa); DB--Jerry Fain (Sequatchie County), Alex Akins (Polk County), David Rucker (Austin-East), Vanderbilt Hambrick (Alcoa), Cody Lewis (Alcoa), Sam Cranford (Christ Presbyterian); P--Chase Travis (Pigeon Forge).
Coach: Rusty Bradley (Christian Acad. of Knoxville).
TSWA Class 4A All-State
QB--Al Cobb (Giles County), Trey Phipps (Obion), Reese Phillips (Signal Mountain); RB--Johnston White (Covington), Cameron Phelps (Chester County), Trevor Irrizarry (Marshall County), Ladarius Vanlier (Maplewood); WR--Matt Reilly (Notre Dame), Jon Patton (Signal Mountain), Nathan Cole II (Mitchell), Trent McEwen (White House), Kenton Baker (Giles County); ATH--LaDevin Fair (Obion), Tanner Stewart (Greeneville), Stevie Bush (Liberty); OL--Walt Downing (Covington), Akeem Cooperwood (Fulton), Jesse Smithson (Spring Hill), Ronnie Linder (Livingston Acad.), Justin Tomlinson (Greeneville); K--Ben Ogle (Greeneville).
DL--Elijah Turnage (Signal Mountain), Terrell Rollins (Greeneville), Jamel Hall (Greeneville), Demaris Peppers (Fairley), Davey Maddux (Marshall County); LB--Zack Bowman (Signal Mountain), Derrik Thornton (Greeneville), Kevin Jackson (White House), Jordan Phillips (Carter), Fred Elder (Fulton); DB--Koryei Jefferson (Greeneville), Deres Benn (Red Bank), Devin Preyer (Mitchell), Taylor Shuffler (Greeneville), Anthony Lewis (Carter), Ben Bates (Giles County); P--Trey Clark (Greeneville).
Coach: Caine Ballard (Greeneville).
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...