Just two days after his team fell one step shy of advancing to the BlueCross Bowl, Meigs County High School quarterback Aaron Swafford won the state's top individual award for his sport.
The junior was named the Class 2A Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award winner Sunday evening in Nashville at Nissan Stadium. Swafford, who also was a finalist for the award as a sophomore, guided Meigs County to undefeated regular seasons this year and last.
This season he accounted for 2,868 total yards — rushing for 1,124 and throwing for another 1,744 — to help the Tigers reach the semifinals, where they lost 32-29 at Trousdale County on Friday. Also a defensive contributor, this season Swafford made 50 tackles and returned a fumble 96 yards for a touchdown.
"I don't know why, but I was a little more nervous than I was last year," Swafford said of Sunday's ceremony. "I felt a wave go through my body when they announced my name, and I was so thankful just to be there and have that opportunity. It's great for not only me but the team and the whole community.
"I'll probably take this trophy to bed tonight and give it a few more looks before I go to sleep. It motivates me more to get back and take that last step with my team next year. I'm honored, but I would trade this award for the chance to play in the championship any day. This will fuel me even more to help get my team there."
Other Chattanooga-area players who were finalists for the Mr. Football award in their classifications were Tyner junior receiver Jeremiah Batiste (2A), Notre Dame senior athlete Cameron Wynn (Division II-AA) and East Hamilton senior Mason Lafollette (kicker).
Also noteworthy, Lausanne senior running back Eric Gray (DII-AA) became the first three-time Mr. Football award winner in state history.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
2018 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Award winners
Division I, Class 1A: Bryce Hanley, Greenback
Division I, Class 2A: Aaron Swafford, Meigs County
Division I, Class 3A: Walker Russell, Alcoa
Division I, Class 4A: Cade Ballard, Greeneville
Division I, Class 5A: Deshawn Page, Fulton
Division I, Class 6A: Devon Starling, Cane Ridge
Division II, Class A: Stone Norton, Davidson Academy
Division II, Class AA: Eric Gray, Lausanne
Division II, Class AAA: Maurice Hampton, Memphis University School
Kicker: Garrett Taylor, Oakland