published Friday, November 15th, 2013

Greater Chattanooga area Mr. Football finalists trio named

Rafael Gaglianone, Jajuan Lankford, Blake Zeman
Rafael Gaglianone, Jajuan Lankford, Blake Zeman

Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Finalists

Class A

Back

Kyle Akin (Trinity Christian)

Chris Hale (Eagleville)

Jajuan Lankford (South Pittsburg)

Lineman

Tyler Bush (Huntingdon)

Zach Stewart (Coalfield)

Blake Zeman (Marion County)

Class AA

Back

Xavier Hawkins (Fulton)

Daryl Rollins-Davis (Fulton)

Ke'Shawn Vaughn (Pearl-Cohn)

Lineman

Paul Adams (Christ Presbyterian)

Akeem Cooperwood (Fulton)

Braylon Young (Alcoa)

Class AAA

Back

Denzel Hardin (Siegel)

Josh Malone (Station Camp)

Shawn Prevo (Maryville)

Lineman

Dylan Jackson (Maryville)

Jack Jones (Oakland)

Charles Mosley (Brighton)

Division II-A

Back

Cole Heotis (Evangelical Christian)

Todd Kelly Jr. (Knoxville Webb)

A.J. Long (Friendship Christian)

Lineman

Jo Irby (Franklin Road Academy)

Brant Mitchell (Knoxville Webb)

Carter Parkey (Battle Ground Acad.)

Division II-AA

Back

D'Andre Ferby (Ensworth)

Devin Perry (Memphis Univ. School)

C.J. Sanders (Brentwood Academy)

Lineman

Derek Barnett (Brentwood Academy)

Alex Bars (Montgomery Bell Acad.)

Michael Sawyers (Ensworth

Kicker of the Year

Rafael Gaglianone (Baylor

Aaron Medley (Marshall County)

Gary Wunderlich (Memphis Univ. School)

Three Chattanooga-area players have been named finalists for their respective classifications' Tennessee Titans Mr. Football awards. Three finalists for both back of the year and lineman of the year in the state are given by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association in the three public school classes as well as two private school divisions, along with an overall kicker of the year.

Baylor's Rafael Gaglianone is a kicker finalist for the second straight season, and joining him are South Pittsburg running back Jajuan Lankford, a finalist for Class A back of the year for the second time in three years, and Marion County linebacker Blake Zeman, a finalist for Class A lineman of the year.

The awards, given by the TSSAA and the Tennessee Titans, will be presented during a banquet at the Murfreesboro Embassy Suites on Dec. 2.

Gaglianone has made 8 of 12 field-goal attempts this season, with the longest 57 yards. One of his misses came from 63 yards, which would have been a state record but drifted wide left. He has put 42 of his 44 kickoffs through the end zone for touchbacks.

Lankford has rushed for 1,548 yards and 23 touchdowns this year, averaging more than 12 yards per carry against a schedule that included seven playoff opponents and five teams that were district champions or state-ranked. He is the long-strong Pirates' career rushing leader with more than 5,200 yards.

Zeman leads the area with 30 tackles for loss and six fumble recoveries to go with 130 total tackles. The junior also has run for 26 TDs and more than 1,581 yards this season.

McCallie has options

McCallie quarterback Javaughn Craig tweaked a knee last week at Father Ryan and was unable to continue. Enter junior Tyler Payne.

Craig went down on the second play of McCallie's first series, so much of the load fell on the Blue Tornado defense.

"We were just hoping to keep it close and win it late," coach Ralph Potter said.

At halftime, Payne told coaches that Father Ryan defenders weren't paying much attention to him after he handed off and asked the staff if he could snatch the ball back and run.

"Tyler's a gamer. He has a tremendous knowledge of our offense and a very high athletic intelligence," Potter said. "He said he could snatch it and go. We told him to go."

With 30 seconds to go and McCallie facing a fourth-and-2, Potter called a power play. Payne stuck the ball in the belly of Andrew Busby, then yanked it back and ran around the end for the winning score.

Potter said the team was "exploring offensive options" when asked about Craig's availability for the Tornado's game tonight at Memphis University School.

"We always practice five or six [quarterbacks]. You know that," he said. "We might have a few tricks up our sleeve, but a coach has to have some secrets, right? We might wind up in the single-wing; go wildcat the whole game."

Looking ahead

If McCallie wins at MUS and Baylor avenges a loss earlier this season at Montgomery Bell Academy, Baylor would host McCallie next week.

The Ooltewah-East Hamilton winner will play the Rhea County-Cleveland winner, making for potential repeats. During the regular season, East Hamilton lost to Rhea County and Ooltewah but beat Cleveland, which defeated Ooltewah. Rhea County moved from Ddistrict 5-AAA for the 2013 season, so there is familiarity with opponents regardless of tonight's winners.

If Signal Mountain beats Knoxville Catholic, the Eagles would remain at home to play the Hixson-Sequoyah winner. A Hixson win and a Signal loss would give Hixson another home game and Catholic its third trip to Chattanooga.

Unbeaten Upperman is hosting Tyner and, with a win, would remain at home against the winner between Polk County and Notre Dame.

Repeats tonight

Polk County and Notre Dame played earlier this season at Benton with Polk taking a 12-10 victory. Both also played Sequatchie County. Notre Dame won 34-0 in Week 7, and Polk beat the Indians 49-7 last week.

Signal and Catholic also have a common opponent. Both beat Tyner early in the season, Signal by 49-28 and Catholic by 24-6.

Boyd-Buchanan's last meeting with Marion County resulted in a 22-6 Buccaneers win in 2010. Bucs coach Grant Reynolds has a 5-1 record against Marion since he took over as head coach prior to the 2006 season. The last time they met in the playoffs was 2009, and Boyd-Buchanan took a 28-6, second-round win.

Boyd-Buchanan and South Pittsburg had first-round byes last week.

Baylor played at MBA on Sept. 6 and lost 28-14. It was the Red Raiders' first loss of the year.

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