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Photo by Cade Deakin / Baylor's Elijah Howard (2) stiff-arms a Knoxville Catholic defender during a game hosted by Baylor on Oct. 18.

Updated with more information at 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2019.

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Mr. Football semifinalists

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For the second year in a row, the Chattanooga area has seven players who have been named Tennessee Titans Mr. Football semifinalists. Five players in each of the state's nine classifications plus five for the overall kicker award earned semifinalist honors Thursday, and three finalists for each category will be announced at noon EST on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Meigs County quarterback Aaron Swafford and McCallie quarterback DeAngelo Hardy are the only two area players who were semifinalists last year as well.

Swafford, who has committed to the Naval Academy, was a finalist as a sophomore and won the Class 2A award last year. He is joined on the list of 2A semifinalists by Tyner's Martavius Ryals, a quarterback and defensive back.

Meanwhile, McCallie's Hardy and Baylor running back Elijah Howard in Division II-AAA, Boyd Buchanan quarterback Eli Morris (DII-AA) and South Pittsburg running back Ronto Tipton (1A) are also semifinalists. East Hamilton's Alen Karajic is one of five players chosen from among all classes as a semifinalist for kicker of the year.

The three finalists for each award, who will be announced by "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith on the team's website (titansonline.com), will be invited to attend the awards luncheon at Nissan Stadium, where the winners will be revealed on Monday, Dec. 2.

This season Swafford has thrown for 885 yards and nine touchdowns, rushed for 1,379 yards and 18 touchdowns, made 49 tackles and intercepted four passes. As the Tigers' starting quarterback since he was a freshman, he has a 44-5 career record.

"I was excited when I found out," Swafford said. "Someone tagged me on Twitter and that's how I first heard about it, and then my mom called to tell me. There was also a sense of relief that the hard work we've put in is being recognized.

"I've experienced being Mr. Football and it's a great honor, but my main goal is to be focused on doing whatever I can to help my team get to the state championship now."

Ryals' top receiving target, Jeremiah Batiste, was a finalist for the award last year, making Tyner the only local team with two current players who have been up for the award. Ryals has thrown for 1,157 yards and rushed for 387 with a combined 19 touchdowns this season and also leads his team in tackles with 87, including 16 for loss and 13 sacks.

Hardy has thrown for 1,316 yards and rushed for 703 with 20 total touchdowns to guide the Blue Tornado to the state's No. 1 ranking in DII-AAA for much of the season.

Howard, only a junior, has rushed for 1,422 yards, averaging 8.7 per carry, and 20 touchdowns to help the Red Raiders earn a No. 2 seed in the DII-AAA playoffs. The Tennessee commitment, who transferred to Baylor from Knoxville's Webb School last summer, has been an electric addition, helping the team finish the regular season 9-1.

Morris has been a big reason for Boyd Buchanan's turnaround this season, with the Buccaneers going from 0-10 last year to an eight-win team that will host a first-round game this week as the state playoffs begin. The junior has thrown for 1,919 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 707 yards and eight scores.

Despite missing the first two games of the season due to injury, Tipton has bounced back to average 15.7 yards per carry as the leading rusher for the state's top-ranked 1A team. He also has returned two punts for scores — he averages 30 yards per return — and intercepted two passes. He is the 17th player in South Pittsburg history to be at least a semifinalist.

In his first season of football, Karajic is 6-of-10 in field-goal attempts with a long of 46, has connected on 48 of 52 extra-point tries and has a 38-yard average on punts. He recently committed to Jacksonville State.

Former Hurricanes kicker Mason Lafollette was a finalist for the award last year.

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

2019 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Semifinalists

CLASS 1A

Hunter Ensley (Huntingdon)

Cameron Reed (Huntland)

Tanner Snyder (Lake County)

Ronto Tipton (South Pittsburg)

Holden Willis (Greenback)

CLASS 2A

Cooper Baugus (Peabody)

Nick McClendon (Forrest)

Martavius Ryals (Tyner)

Aaron Swafford (Meigs County)

Terry Wilkins (Fairley)

CLASS 3A

Grey Carroll (Alcoa)

Treyveon Foster (Austin-East)

Donoven McCallister (Upperman)

James Moore (Stratford)

Logan Nardozzi (Fairview)

CLASS 4A

Tim Coutras (Nolensville)

Rivers Hunt (Hardin County)

Will McDonald (Livingston Academy)

Bryson Rollins (Elizabethton)

Ty Youngblood (Greeneville)

CLASS 5A

Spencer Briggs (Gallatin)

Ja'sean Parks (Beech)

Cade Walker (Page)

Colton Webb (Powell)

Elijah Young (South-Doyle)

CLASS 6A

Cade Chambers (Maryville)

Bryson Eason (Whitehaven)

Andrew Mason (Ravenwood)

Conner Murphy (Blackman)

Lincoln Pare (Houston)

DIVISION II-A

Caedan Clark (Jackson Christian)

Kevin Davis (Trinity Christian)

Kemari McGowan (MTCS)

Rube Scott Rhea (Fayette Academy)

Zack Tilley (King's Academy)

DIVISION II-AA

Austin Hill (ECS)

Eli Morris (Boyd Buchanan)

Dietrick Pennington (ECS)

Cooper Riggs (Knox Grace)

Nick Semptimphelter (BGA)

2019 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Semifinalists

CLASS 1A

Hunter Ensley (Huntingdon)

Cameron Reed (Huntland)

Tanner Snyder (Lake County)

Ronto Tipton (South Pittsburg)

Holden Willis (Greenback)

CLASS 2A

Cooper Baugus (Peabody)

Nick McClendon (Forrest)

Martavius Ryals (Tyner)

Aaron Swafford (Meigs County)

Terry Wilkins (Fairley)

CLASS 3A

Grey Carroll (Alcoa)

Treyveon Foster (Austin-East)

Donoven McCallister (Upperman)

James Moore (Stratford)

Logan Nardozzi (Fairview)

CLASS 4A

Tim Coutras (Nolensville)

Rivers Hunt (Hardin County)

Will McDonald (Livingston Academy)

Bryson Rollins (Elizabethton)

Ty Youngblood (Greeneville)

CLASS 5A

Spencer Briggs (Gallatin)

Ja'sean Parks (Beech)

Cade Walker (Page)

Colton Webb (Powell)

Elijah Young (South-Doyle)

CLASS 6A

Cade Chambers (Maryville)

Bryson Eason (Whitehaven)

Andrew Mason (Ravenwood)

Conner Murphy (Blackman)

Lincoln Pare (Houston)

DIVISION II-A

Caedan Clark (Jackson Christian)

Kevin Davis (Trinity Christian)

Kemari McGowan (MTCS)

Rube Scott Rhea (Fayette Academy)

Zack Tilley (King's Academy)

DIVISION II-AA

Austin Hill (ECS)

Eli Morris (Boyd Buchanan)

Dietrick Pennington (ECS)

Cooper Riggs (Knox Grace)

Nick Semptimphelter (BGA)

DIVISION II-AAA

DeAngelo Hardy (McCallie)

Elijah Howard (Baylor)

Keshawn Lawrence (Ensworth)

Jabari Small (Briarcrest)

Omari Thomas (Briarcrest)

KICKER OF THE YEAR

Luke Akers (Ravenwood)

Jackson Carver (Westview)

Alen Karajic (East Hamilton)

Paxton Perry (Brentwood Academy)

Zeke Rankin (Alcoa)

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