published Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Male finalists versatile: Five of six starred in multiple sports

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    Vonn Bell
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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    Bryce Copeland
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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    Simon Holden
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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    Brandon Walters
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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    Spencer Mossburg
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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    Jake Stone
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Like long sideburns and muscle cars, multisport athletes produce golden memories.

Five of those old-school types are among the six finalists for the Scrappy Moore Male Athlete of the Year award to be announced Monday at the Times Free Press Best of Preps banquet at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Former Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones is the guest speaker.

The multisport finalists are Bradley Central's Bryce Copeland, Baylor's Simon Holden, Silverdale Baptist Academy's Spencer Mossburg, South Pittsburg's Jake Stone and Howard's Brandon Walters. The other finalist is Ridgeland's Vonn Bell, who was ranked as one of the nation's top prep football prospects, and even he had success in basketball before focusing on multiple roles in football.

Bell helped lead the Panthers to the Georgia Class AAAA championship game as a starter on both sides of the ball. He compiled 1,523 yards of total offense while scoring 19 touchdowns and finishing with 131 total tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles. The five-star recruit followed his whirlwind season by choosing to sign with Ohio State over Tennessee and Alabama.

Copeland led his basketball team in every statistical category by averaging 26 points, six assists and six rebounds to lead Bradley to the Tennessee Region 3-AAA championship and then to the state sectionals. A four-year Bears quarterback starter, he threw for 2,138 yards and 13 touchdowns last football season.

Holden was dominant in sweeping all three distance events at the Division II state championship track meet for a second straight year. He won the 3200-meter run in the morning, then claimed the 1600 and 800 races during the evening session. The Wake Forest signee became the first athlete in Baylor's distinguished running history to win the 1600 three years in a row, and he finished his prep career with eight individual titles. In cross country he won six of the seven 2012 meets in which he competed, including the Division II-AA state meet.

Mossburg hit .593 with 45 runs scored, seven home runs, 13 doubles and 32 RBIs in the baseball regular season. He also had a 6-0 pitching record with one save and a 1.19 earned run average to help the Seahawks finish as Class A state runners-up. Mossburg also is a multiyear starter in both football and basketball for the Seahawks.

Stone was named District 6-A player of the year in baseball after hitting .458 with 43 RBIs and 38 stolen bases. In football he was the area's leading tackler with 95 solo tackles and 51 assists and also had 911 yards of total offense with eight touchdowns to earn all-state and District 6-A defensive MVP honors. He was the starting point guard in basketball, averaging 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals per game, earning all-district honors.

Walters was a Class AA Mr. Football finalist and all-state selection after leading the area with 27 tackles for loss. He also had 11.5 sacks and 98 total tackles. In basketball, the 6-foot-8 post earned all-state honors for a second straight season after leading the Hustlin' Tigers to the state semifinals by averaging 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots a game.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.

about Stephen Hargis...

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 ...

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