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Eight from area TSSAA Mr. Football semifinalists


Eight players from the Chattanooga area have been named semifinalists for the TSSAA Mr. Football awards in their respective classifications. Four players make up the list of semifinalists for both the back of the year and lineman of the year in each classification, and there are four semifinalists for the kicker of the year award, chosen from all classes combined.

Two players each from McCallie and Marion County headline the area contingent. Blue Tornado quarterback Robert Riddle is among the four semifinalists for Division II-AA back of the year, and teammate Giovanni Hightower-Reviere is up for lineman of the year. Riddle has thrown for more than 2,400 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, while Hightower-Reviere is a two-way lineman who has five tackles for loss, three sacks and 11 quarterback hurries and also blocks for an offense that averages 39 points per game.

Marion County senior teammates Alex Kirkendoll and Hunter McClain, both linebackers, are two of the four semifinalists for Class 2A lineman of the year. Kirkendoll ranks among the area's tackle leaders with 126 and also has 11 for loss, three sacks and two safeties for a defense that has allowed just four rushing TDs this season. McClain has 73 tackles, 10 for loss, and has rushed for 801 yards.

"It's a testament to how hard both of them have worked — on the field, in the weightroom and especially in the classroom," Warriors coach Joey Mathis said. "Their leadership also means a lot to us on the field. They make sure we're lined up where we need to be because they have a good knowledge of the game, and they bring an element of toughness with good speed.

"Those two kids are what's right with high school football."

In 3A, Sequatchie County linebacker and fullback Hunter Davenport is the first player in that program's history to be a Mr. Football semifinalist. As proof of his versatility, he's the only player in any class to be a semifinalist for both the back and lineman of the year. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has 92 tackles, nine tackles for loss and four forced fumbles defensively, while on offense he has more than 1,000 total yards and 20 TDs.

"He's just a huge part of everything we do here," Indians coach Adam Caine said. "For two years he's been our most physical and best defensive player. Last year he was a really good blocker as a fullback, and then this year, since we expanded our offense, he's been more involved in the run game and really become a guy we count on to get a lot of yards."

Meanwhile, for the second straight year, Bradley Central quarterback Cole Copeland is a semifinalist for 6A's top back honor, despite missing the last three games with a shoulder injury. Copeland, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga commitment who is expected back for the playoffs, has thrown for 1,730 yards, rushed for 468 and accounted for 27 total TDs.

South Pittsburg senior two-way lineman Mitch Butner is one of the four up for that 1A award, and East Hamilton's Jake McClure made the list for the state's top-kicker honor. Butner helps anchor an offensive line for a team averaging 52 points over its last seven games, while McClure has made 11 of 12 field-goal attempts, with a long of 56, and averaged 40.2 yards per punt.

For the 10th straight year the Tennessee Titans are sponsoring the Mr. Football awards, and two finalists for each category will be announced on the Titans website at on Nov. 15 at noon EST. The two finalists for each award will be invited to attend the awards luncheon at Nissan Stadium on Nov. 28, where the winners will be announced.

Contact Stephen Hargis at or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis

2016 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Semifinalists

Kicker of the year

› Joe Doyle (Farragut)

› Jake McClure (East Hamilton)

› Jacob Smith (Siegel)

› Adam Williams (Wilson Central)

Class 1A

Lineman of the year

› Mitch Butner (South Pittsburg)

› Brant Lawless (Nashville Christian)

› Spencer Norrod (Monterey)

› Josh Silvey (Greenback)

Back of the year

› Preston Rice (Wayne County)

› Kayne Roberts (Greenback)

› Dresser Winn (Dresden)

› D.J. Taylor (Huntland)

Class 2A

Lineman of the year

› Alex Kirkendoll (Marion County)

› Hunter McClain (Marion County)

› Donald Staats (Watertown)

› Slayton Wild (Forrest)

Back of the year

› Darius Harper (Austin-East)

› Caleb Johnson (MAHS)

› Seth Price (Watertown)

› Cordarrian Richardson (Trezevant)

Class 3A

Lineman of the year

› Hunter Davenport (Sequatchie County)

› Jacob Phillips (East Nashville)

› Jacob Rimmer (Milan)

› Jack Warwick (Alcoa)

Back of the year

› Terrell Carter (Stratford)

› Hunter Davenport (Sequatchie)

› Tykee Kellogg (Alcoa)

› Cole Smith (CAK)

Class 4A

Lineman of the year

› Letrall Bumphus (Hardin County)

› Cade Mays (Knoxville Catholic)

› Cain McWilliams (Marshall County)

› Rutger Reitmaier (Lipscomb)

Back of the year

› Antwuan Branch (Kenwood)

› Chase Kuerschen (Knox Catholic)

› Amari Rodgers (Knoxville Catholic)

› Timothy Taylor (Memphis East)

Class 5A

Lineman of the year

› Maleik Gray (LaVergne)

› Trevis Hopper (Memphis Central)

› Eli Katina (Centennial)

› Mike Rhoades (Campbell County)

Back of the year

› Caden Harbin (Knoxville Halls)

› Tee Higgins (Oak Ridge)

› Jordan Mason (Gallatin)

› Jacob Murphree (Dickson County)

Class 6A

Lineman of the year

› T.D. Blackmon (Maryville)

› D.J. Delfendahl (Mt. Juliet)

› Aubrey Miller (Whitehaven)

› Max Wray (Franklin)

Back of the year

› Cole Copeland (Bradley Central)

› Dylan Hopkins (Maryville)

› JaCoby Stevens (Oakland)

› Kylan Watkins (Whitehaven)

Division II-A

Lineman of the year

› Morgan Ernst (Knoxville Webb)

› Will Lawrence (Harding Academy)

› Cole Lusby (The King’s Academy)

› Trey Smith (USJ)

Back of the year

› Calvin Austin III (Harding Academy)

› Eric Gray (Lausanne)

› Chase Hayden (St. George’s)

› Elijah Howard (Knoxville Webb)

Division II-AA

Lineman of the year

›Tanner Antonutti (Ensworth)

› Griffin Hawkins (Briarcrest)

› Giovanni Hightower-Reviere (McCallie)

› Dorian Hopkins (MUS)

Back of the year

› Ben Brooks (Pope John Paul II)

› Ty Chandler (MBA)

› Jeremiah Oatsvall (Brentwood Academy)

› Robert Riddle (McCallie)



Updated at 11:51 p.m. with additional information.