Once McCallie's football team regained full strength late in the season — after being limited by injuries to some key players earlier — the Blue Tornado became dominant on their way to winning a second straight TSSAA Division II-AAA state title.
McCallie was so impressive throughout the postseason, particularly in a 44-0 destruction of Memphis University School in the BlueCross Bowl championship game this month, that statewide sports writers have selected seven Blue Tornado players to the all-state team for 2020.
The seven who earned Tennessee Sports Writers Association recognition in DII-AAA are twin brothers Austin and Jack Gentle on the offensive line, receiver Eric Rivers, running back B.J. Harris, linebackers Aaron Crowder and J.D. Tessman and defensive back Michael May.
Four local players were named to the DII-AA team: Chattanooga Christian School linebacker Luke Bowman and defensive back Treveon Scott, Silverdale Baptist Academy athlete Conner Delashmitt and Boyd Buchanan offensive lineman Brody Grant.
The announcement of the Division II teams completes this year's TSWA all-state football honors. In TSSAA Division I, Classes 5A and 6A were announced Monday, with 4A and 3A revealed Tuesday and 2A and 1A released Wednesday.
The Gentle twins, who will continue their playing careers at Harvard, each graded out as better than 92% blockers for McCallie this past season, with Austin amassing 114 pancake blocks and Jack finishing with 77. They led the way for Harris, who is committed to Missouri, to rush for 1,498 yards and 21 touchdowns. Rivers had 511 receiving yards, plus an additional 400 yards of offense.
Crowder led a stingy McCallie defense that allowed an average of just 11.5 points per game over its final four, with the junior totaling 68 solo tackles, 26 assists and eight tackles for loss in 2020. Tessman made 50 solo stops to go with 32 assists, 11.5 for loss, two sacks and two interceptions, and May had 37 tackles and four interceptions, including two in the title game.
"It's a source of pride for us to have that many recognized as being among the best in the business in our league," Blue Tornado coach Ralph Potter said. "It's a testament to our coaches and the commitment they had in developing those young men, and the work put in by the players.
"Defensively, the amazing part is that we had so many young guys who had to step in and play and really came through and were better than just OK. We had some guys who waited their turn and really progressed. Offensively, we had a big, strong offensive line, and B.J. and Eric have just been phenomenal players for us for a while."
Bowman had 91 tackles and three sacks for CCS, and Scott was the only two-way starter for the Chargers. Besides ranking among the team leaders in tackles, Scott also ran for 11 touchdowns and more than 900 yards. Delashmitt compiled 1,858 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns for the Seahawks, and Grant was the Buccaneers' most consistent blocker up front.
"Luke set everything up for us," CCS coach Mark Mariakis said. "He played hurt all season long, so to watch what he did on Friday nights is just a testament to his toughness.
"Treveon's athletic ability, his height and physicalness meant we could put him on the other team's best athlete and he usually was able to limit them."
TSWA ALL-STATE FOOTBALL
QB – Aaron Smith, Jackson Christian
QB – Jared Vetetoe, Davidson Academy
RB – Jon Lewis, Donelson Christian Academy
RB – Griffin Swinea, Davidson Academy
WR – Kelvi Rice, Davidson Academy
WR – Peyton Tinsley, Jackson Christian
WR – Ja’Chim Williams, The King’s Academy
OL – JP Oliver, Trinity Christian
OL – Jalen Brockman, Davidson Academy
OL – Aleric Watson, Middle Tennessee Christian
OL – Aidan Francis, Donelson Christian Academy
OL – Darian List, Nashville Christian
ATH – Luke Perko, Zion Christian
K – Neill Kane, Friendship Christian
DL – Blaine Verdung, University School of Jackson
DL – Riley Stanton, Donelson Christian Academy
DL – Kendyle Ball, Davidson Academy
DL – Harris Adams, Nashville Christian
LB – Kytn Wolf, Franklin Grace
LB – Collins Malone, Columbia Academy
LB – AJ Quinn, Davidson Academy
LB – Steele Haynes, University School of Jackson
DB – Garrett Weekly, The King’s Academy
DB – Martease Edwards, Nashville Christian
DB – Tyke Tabor, University School of Jackson
DB – Marshaun Bowers, The King’s Academy
ATH – Nakelin McAfee, The King’s Academy
P – Ben Pledger, University School of Jackson
QB – Cade Law, Christ Presbyterian Academy
QB – Cooper Riggs, Knoxville Grace
RB – Jaylen Greenwood, Evangelical Christian
RB – James Dunn, Christian Academy of Knoxville
WR – Pierce Browning, Knoxville Grace
WR – Grant Sterchi, Christian Academy of Knoxville
WR – Michael Human, Knoxville Grace
OL – Dietrick Pennington, Evangelical Christian
OL – Chazan Page, Lipscomb Academy
OL – Brody Grant, Boyd Buchanan
OL – Jackson Bradley, Knoxville Webb
OL – Spencer Dams, Christ Presbyterian Academy
ATH – Connor Delashmitt, Silverdale Baptist Academy
K – Ross Badgett, Christian Academy of Knoxville
DL – Colin Stewart, Christ Presbyterian Academy
DL – Malchi Harrison, Christian Academy of Knoxville
DL – Chi McNeil-Harrison, Christian Academy of Knoxville
LB – Luke Bowman, Chattanooga Christian
LB – Ethan Dabbs, Lausanne Collegiate
LB – Langston Patterson, Christ Presbyterian Academy
LB – Leo Bonifacio, Knoxville Webb
DB – Treveon Scott, Chattanooga Christian
DB – Shelby Whiteside, Christ Presbyterian Academy
DB – Jaden Lyles, Lipscomb Academy
DB – Wes Smith, St. George’s
DB – Reid Williford, Christ Presbyterian Academy
ATH – Brendan Jones, Goodpasture
P – Otto Niendorf, Knoxville Webb
QB – Michael Dallas, Briarcrest Christian
QB – D.C. Tabscott, Father Ryan
RB – Dallan Hayden, Christian Brothers
RB – Antwan Roberts, Pope John Paul II
WR – Eric Rivers, McCallie
WR – Clarkson Shoaf, Memphis University School
WR – Colin Cook, Pope John Paul II
OL – Patrick Kutas, Christian Brothers
OL – Austin Gentle, McCallie
OL – Noah Josey, Brentwood Academy
OL – Jack Gentle, McCallie
OL – Eli Sutton, Brentwood Academy
ATH – BJ Harris, McCallie
K – Teagen Lenderink, Brentwood Academy
DL – Phillip Husband, Brentwood Academy
DL – Walter Nolen, St. Benedict at Auburndale
DL – Parker Peterson, Father Ryan
DL – James Stewart, Brentwood Academy
LB – JD Tessman, McCallie
LB – Ansley Ware, Pope John Paul II
LB – Toleo Malone, Ensworth School
LB – Aaron Crowder, McCallie
DB – Michael May, McCallie
DB – Roderic Lewis, Memphis University School
DB – Amir Annoor, Brentwood Academy
DB – Javis Mynatt, Knoxville Catholic
ATH – Andre Turrentine, Ensworth
P – Josh Turbyville, Knoxville Catholic