published Monday, October 14th, 2013

Greater Chattanooga area prep football player of the week Clay McHone steps up for Whitwell

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    Whitwell running back Clay McHone ran to 246 yards in the Tigers' 50-7 win over Clay County on Friday and was the Times Free Press player of the week.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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13 for '13 week 8

* Cory Bethune, Trion: 72 rushing yards, 1 TD; 138 passing yards, 2 TDs.

* Brody Binder, Ooltewah: 19 of 29 completions, 379 yards, 4 TDs

* Tony Francois, East Hamilton: 4 catches, 170 yards, 2 TDs.

* Nathan Keylon, Silverdale Baptist: 6 of 9 completions, 240 yards, 3 TDs.

* Jajuan Lankford, South Pittsburg: 216 rushing yards, 3 TDs.

* Clay McHone, Whitwell; 246 rushing yards, 5 TDs.

* Haasan Miller, Tyner: 2 rushing TDs, two passing TDs.

* Zach Miller, Polk County; 148 rushing yards, TD.

* Sean Montgomery, Central: 180 rushing yards, 3 TDs.

* Kareem Orr: Quincy Parris, Meigs County: 170 rushing yards, 2 TDs.

* Noel Patterson, Rhea County: 3 catches, 142 yards, 3 TDs.

* Will Slack, Grace Academy; 328 rushing yards, 4 TDs.

* Jacob Webb, Northwest Whitfield: 194 rushing yards, 2TDs.

Cody Ingrassia and the McHone brothers, senior Dusty and sophomore Clay, had been sharing the rushing load for Whitwell.

When Dusty was sidelined with a shoulder injury, Ingrassia and Clay picked up the slack. Ingrassia had surgery on Tuesday to repair a broken leg suffered against Lookout Valley so Clay pretty much shouldered the load of three last week.

He earned Times Free Press Player of the Week honors for gaining 246 yards and scoring five touchdowns in the Tigers' 50-7 victory over Clay County.

While his brother began last week making his way back into an active role, Clay McHone averaged 82 yards per quarter, playing all of the first half but only a series into the third quarter before coach Billy Barnhart pulled him.

"He would've been over 300 yards with another touchdown but he had a 72-yard run called back because of a penalty," Barnhart said. "I insisted the defensive staff pull him too. Clay's a workhorse, but we had the game in hand at that point?"

Coaches thought it would be Dusty with the breakout season but those thoughts were washed away when he was injured in the first game.

"He's just now getting back, and he's still not back where he was to start the season. If all three of them had stayed healthy I think we'd be at least 6-2," Barnhart said.

Ingrassia, meanwhile, is lost for the season to the 3-5, Tigers but he and Clay will be around for the next two years.

The younger McHone, a 5-foot-5, 150-pounder, and his offensive line will share the burden for the rest of 2012.

"Surprisingly, he's not easy to bring down and he has great vision. He cuts back to the middle of the field and you wonder at the time, but it always seems to be a great move," Barnhart said.

The coach said he has been a hard worker since he stepped into the weight room as an eighth-grader.

"Since the first day he has outworked everybody. He's a hard worker on the game field, the practice field and the weight room. When we take water breaks he's the first one back on the field, and sometimes he'll help out the scout team for our defense and he goes as hard there as he does on game nights," Barnhart said.

"In 20 years of coaching he's probably one of my favorites because he loves to play football and he has fun doing it."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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