Afternoon Drive: Five moments Chattanooga-area prep athletes showcased their potential

Staff Photo by Patrick MacCoon/  Dalton's Jahmyr Gibbs explodes down the sideline for one of his eight touchdowns in a road win over Ringgold back in 2019.
Staff Photo by Patrick MacCoon/ Dalton's Jahmyr Gibbs explodes down the sideline for one of his eight touchdowns in a road win over Ringgold back in 2019.

Welcome to The Afternoon Drive, where the sports staff of the Times Free Press will give you a dose of (random) sports-related information that will hopefully get you thinking about more than just what's for dinner. This information will be packed into an online list form each weekday, but the opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff as a whole.

Today's list

In today's sports list, Patrick MacCoon looks back at five times a prep athlete provided a glimpse of what they would become.

1. McDonald's All-American snub drives Rhyne Howard

Looking back at my time covering a generational player who will go down one day as possibly the greatest women's basketball player in the Volunteer State, I almost felt like Brian Windhorst covering LeBron James in the early stages of his career. Howard's killer instincts were driven to another level after being left off the McDonald's All-American team her senior year. In the 10 games that followed, the Bradley Central star averaged 30.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.4 steals, 4.6 assists, 3.8 3-pointers and one block per game while shooting 75% on 2-point field goals and 55% on 3-point attempts. In a road win against Walker Valley she nearly had a quadruple-double with 24 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and eight steals. Now, the Bearette legend is a member of the Team USA's qualifying Olympic team.

  photo  Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Bradley Central's Rhyne Howard (23) dribbles the ball downcourt while being guarded by Houston's Melisa Carter (33) during the Bradley Central vs. Houston girls' Class AAA state basketball tournament semifinal game Friday, March 9, 2018 in Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Bradley Central fell to Houston 49-52.

2. Jahmyr Gibbs goes crazy against Ringgold

Before becoming a key explosive piece in one of the NFL's best offenses and helping to re-energize the Detroit Lions fan base, Gibbs was putting his incredible motor on display in northwest Georgia. I was covering the Dalton-Ringgold game when Gibbs made defenders look like little children trying to stop him. His first seven carries went for 218 yards and four touchdowns on his way to a 420-yard rushing performance and eight touchdowns on 23 carries. Seeing Gibbs' vision, burst, strength and elusiveness made me realize on August 23, 2019 that one day he would be making plays on Sundays.

3. Nick Kurtz leaves the yard in a hurry

Barring a major down season or injury, this Baylor School baseball product is almost a guarantee to go first or second overall in this year's upcoming MLB Draft. The monster 6-foot-5, 235-pound left-handed slugger has power to all fields and the ball jumps off his bat differently. One of those came during his senior season for the Red Raiders when he hit a screaming line-drive home run over the right field fence that had to be no more than 10-15 feet off the ground and produced an exit velocity speed of possibly 110-plus miles per hour. With the college baseball season just about ready for first pitch, Kurtz will provide absolute entertainment for the undisputed No. 1 team in the country at Wake Forest.

  photo  Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Baylor (5) Nick Kurtz watches the ball fly over the right field fence as he hits a homer during a practice at Baylor High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021.

4. Madison Hayes posts triple-double

Currently the best 3-point shooter and rebounder on the No. 3 ranked team in the country, Hayes has enjoyed an incredible breakout redshirt senior season for North Carolina State. Hayes is ferocious on the court and showcased her complete arsenal in a home win over Walker Valley during her senior season when she posted 35 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, four steals and three blocks. The McDonald's All-American committee learned their lesson with Howard, as Hayes was selected to the 2020 team along with Hamilton Heights stars Kamilla Cardoso and Treasure Hunt.

  photo  Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / East Hamilton's Madison Hayes (14) handles the ball against Bradley Central at Bradley Central High School's Jim Smiddy Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 in Cleveland, Tenn.

5. Logan Workman gets best of Camden Sewell in pitchers duel

Making a strong impression in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system, Workman was nearly unhittable in his senior season with Soddy-Daisy in 2017 as he only allowed nine hits in the regular season. In that year's district tournament, Workman and Camden Sewell went at each other in a great pitchers duel that ended with the Trojans winning 1-0. That day you could see both had a unique feel for the game and were going to be absolute weapons in college. Both did exactly that as Workman put up elite stats for Lee University, while Sewell was a big part of the most dominant stretch in Tennessee Volunteers baseball history.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at

  photo  Lee University contributed photo / Lee University junior Logan Workman was leading the Gulf South Conference in all major pitching categories upon stoppage of play due to COVID-19. The Soddy Daisy High School graduate now has his eyes on the MLB Draft.

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