Updated at 6:30 p.m.
In a season of firsts, Whitwell High School's football program can check off yet another new accomplishment. Senior athlete Hudson Petty became the program's first Mr. Football semifinalist Thursday when the TSSAA released its list.
Petty was one of seven players from the Chattanooga area to earn semifinalist recognition in their respective classifications.
"This means a lot to our program to have a player recognized like this," Tigers coach Randall Boldin said. "It's a testament to the entire team, really. I always look at these more as team awards because nobody could accomplish individual honors without everyone around them. The whole team is really excited for Hudson."
Joining Petty as area semifinalists are Tyner junior receiver Jeremiah Batiste and Meigs County junior quarterback Aaron Swafford in 2A, Red Bank senior athlete Calvin Jackson in 3A, Notre Dame senior athlete Cam Wynn in Division II-AA and McCallie junior quarterback DeAngelo Hardy in D-II AAA. East Hamilton senior kicker Mason Lafollette is one of five overall finalists, from all classifications, for kicker of the year.
The TSSAA will announce the three finalists in all nine classes on Nov. 12. The finalists will be invited to attend the Nov. 25 awards luncheon at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, where the winners will be announced.
This year, Petty has more than 900 total yards and 17 touchdowns on offense and is also one of the area's leading tacklers with 103 total (83 solos), including 11 for loss, plus four interceptions. He helped Whitwell finish the regular season unbeaten for the first time in program history.
"He's one of those players you can plug in anywhere," Boldin said. "He's fast, has good hands, runs extremely hard and is also a smart player who can run our system. We're able to line him up at receiver, running back or even quarterback and know that he's capable of making plays.
"His defensive work gets overlooked because of everything he's done on offense, but he gets downhill in a hurry and is physical on that side of the ball, too."
Batiste has 41 catches for 985 yards and 13 touchdowns and has intercepted three passes, and Swafford has thrown for 1,145 yards and 14 touchdowns, rushed for 686 yards and 19 scores and returned a fumble recovery 95 yards for another touchdown. He is 32-3 as the Tigers' starting quarterback, having led them to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, and is a repeat semifinalist.
Despite missing the first two games this season with an injury, Jackson, who has committed Wofford's football program, has accumulated more than 900 total yards in the past five games and has more than 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. He was a semifinalist last year, too.
"He's made a huge difference in what we can do offensively once he returned," Lions coach Chris Brown said. "Just having him on the field, because of the attention he draws, opens up so much for other weapons on the field. When Calvin gets the ball in his hands, he can make big things happen for us in a hurry."
Wynn has averaged more than 9 yards per carry and has more than 1,000 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns, while Hardy has more than 1,000 passing yards as well as nearly 1,200 rushing yards and 20 total scores.
Lafollette has made all seven of his field-goal attempts this year with a long of 53 yards as well as makes from 48, 47 and 43 yards.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.