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Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / Walker Valley quarterback Tucker Pope (10) was voted to the TSWA all-state football team for Class 5A, and he was joined by two fellow Mustangs: receiver Brody Swafford and linebacker Eli Denton.

The first group of Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state football teams for 2020 has been released, and the Chattanooga area has eight total players on the initial lists. Classes 6A and 5A are the first to be announced, with 4A and 3A coming out Tuesday, 2A and 1A released Wednesday and all three Division II classes announced Thursday.

The all-state teams for cross country will be announced Friday, and golf honorees will be revealed Saturday. Girls' soccer selections will be revealed later.

McMinn County had a pair of players on the 6A team: Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalist Jalen Hunt at running back — he also made notable contributions as a defensive back this year — and offensive lineman Bryce Goodner. They were joined by Bradley Central's Javon Burke, an 1,800-yard rusher who also started in the secondary and earned the recognition at defensive back, where the University of Tennessee Chattanooga signee intercepted two passes and had 20 solo tackles.

In 5A, Walker Valley had three players honored: quarterback Tucker Pope, receiver Brody Swafford and linebacker Eli Denton. They were joined by Soddy-Daisy linebacker Rhett Stottlemire and Rhea County linebacker Drew Fisher.

Hunt, a Tennessee State signee, led the state, regardless of classification, with 2,451 rushing yards (averaging 223 per game) and 27 touchdowns, much of that coming behind the blocking of Goodner, who signed with Virginia Tech.

Pope, who also signed with Tennessee State, threw for 1,866 yards and 20 touchdowns to lead the Mustangs to eight victories, including the program's first home playoff win. He also ran for 438 yards and 12 scores.

Swafford had 867 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, and he was especially dangerous on special teams, where he had 469 return yards and three scores. Denton had 72 tackles, including 49 solos and 10 for loss, plus two fumble recoveries.

"This just speaks to how far we've come as a program in two short years and where we're going," Mustangs second-year coach Drew Akins said. "We've got a lot of momentum, and it's exciting for us as coaches to see their hard work pay off.

"Tucker transferred and made such an impact in his two years. He deserves all the accolades he's getting. Brody was our team leader. He's who our guys looked to and fed off of. When we needed a play, he's who we went to, and he had a knack for making the big play, whether on offense or special teams.

"Eli is just a sophomore, so his future is so bright. We've changed our defense from giving up 40 points to just 14 per game this season, and we leaned on him a lot to help us improve."

Fisher finished among the Chattanooga area's tackles leaders with 120, including 14 for loss and four sacks. He was also the Region 4-5A defensive player of the year. Stottlemire's 79 total tackles ranked third in the area during the regular season, and he also forced two fumbles.

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

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Staff file photo by Matt Hamilton / McMinn County running back Jalen Hunt

TSWA ALL-STATE FOOTBALL

CLASS 6A

OFFENSE

QB – Cade Granzow, Brentwood

QB – Jaxson Campbell, Independence

RB – Jalen Hunt, McMinn County

RB – Jordan James, Oakland

RB – Robert Giaimo, Bartlett

WR – Walker Merrill, Brentwood

WR – Isaiah Horton, Oakland

WR – Jake Briningstool, Ravenwood

OL – Bryce Goodner, McMinn County

OL – Graham Keating, Oakland

OL – Fisher Anderson, Franklin

OL – Harrison Wilkes, Germantown Houston

OL – Zach Ferguson, Dobyns-Bennett

ATH – Ray Banner, LaVergne

K – Upton Bellenfant, Stewarts Creek

DEFENSE

DL – Lou Burchfield, Maryville

DL – Javon Nelson, Riverdale

DL – Ethan Hassler, Collierville

DL –Jackson Martin, Dobyns-Bennett

LB – Brent Rowe, Hendersonville

LB – Spencer Rich, Brentwood

LB – Junior Colson, Ravenwood

LB – Justin Jefferson, Bartlett

DB – John Howse IV, Brentwood

DB – D.J. Burks, Maryville

DB – Javon Burke, Bradley Central

DB – Ellis Ellis, Hendersonville

ATH – CJ Taylor, Warren County

P – Trey Turk, Oakland

CLASS 5A

OFFENSE

QB – Destin Wade, Summit

QB – Tucker Pope, Walker Valley

RB – Jermarcus Johnson, Henry County

RB – De’Sean Bishop, Knoxville Karns

RB – Shawn Gary, South-Doyle

WR – Liam Fortner, Knoxville Central

WR – Micah Simpson, Morristown East

WR – Brody Swafford, Walker Valley

OL – David Hull, South-Doyle

OL – Brady Cash, Knoxville Central

OL – Brycen Hodges, Powell

OL – Cooper Koch, Summit

OL – Carter Szydlowski, Columbia Central

ATH – Jason Foust, Powell

K – Ewan Johnson, South-Doyle

DEFENSE

DL – Levi Herald, South-Doyle

DL – Jaxon Adams, Oak Ridge

DL – Andrew Gilbert, Knoxville West

LB – Rhett Stottlemire, Soddy-Daisy

LB – Kalib Fortner, Knoxville Central

LB – Drew Fisher, Rhea County

LB – Eli Denton, Walker Valley

LB – Ethan Scott, Knoxville West

DB – Prince Kollie, David Crockett

DB – Preston Sisler, South-Doyle

DB – Preston Turner, Oak Ridge

DB – Jawan Odoms, Henry County

ATH – Shannon Blair, Knoxville West

P – Ryan Bolton, Knoxville Central

 

 

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