This story was updated at 5:58 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021 with more information.

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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Game MVP Deandre Kelly )2_ looks for running room. The South Pittsburg Pirates defeated the McKenize Rebels to win the TSSAA Division 1 Class A football championship in the BlueCross Bowl, at Finley Stadium, on December 3, 2021.

The western portion of the state swept the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football awards in the classifications with Chattanooga-area finalists.

The area's three finalists — McCallie quarterback William Riddle in Division II-AAA, Meigs County athlete Cam Huckabey in Class 2A and South Pittsburg running back De'Andre Kelly in 1A — each lost out to a player from west Tennessee during Tuesday's awards ceremony at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Christian Brothers running back Dallan Hayden, an Ohio State commitment who rushed for 1,465 yards, had 215 receiving yards and totaled 27 TDs, repeated as the award winner in D-II AAA, while Martin Westview quarterback Ty Simpson — an Alabama commitment who threw for 2,130 yards, ran for 554 and totaled 36 TDs — won the 2A award. The 1A award winner was Peabody running back/defensive back Khalik Ganaway, who ran for 1,283 yards (9.9 per carry average) with 21 TDs and also had 20 solo tackles and returned two kickoffs for scores.

The Mr. Football award is based on each player's regular-season performance and the playoffs do not factor into the decision. All three local players are seniors and each helped their team claim a region title, with Riddle and Kelly earning BlueCross Bowl MVP awards after guiding their teams to state championships last week at Finley Stadium.

Riddle was the fourth finalist in five seasons for McCallie. A two-year starter, he threw for 2,489 yards and 34 touchdowns in guiding his team to its first unbeaten regular season in 20 years. He did not throw an interception through the Blue Tornado's first eight games.

"His statistics bare out the fact that he was the most dominant player in the state in our class," Blue Tornado coach Ralph Potter said. "He led a team that was undefeated, with almost 2,500 passing yards in the regular season, and his efficiency was off the charts."

Riddle's older brother Robert — who was on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga roster this season — was also a Mr. Football finalist for McCallie in 2016.

"William is a lot like Robert in that he will grown and his best football is in front of him," Potter added. "William's ability to get the ball where it needed to be, playing with both his brain and body, really was an amazing thing to see."

Kelly was the fifth Pirates player in six years to be honored as a finalist and totaled 1,066 yards and 14 TDs in his team's eight regular-season games. The 6-foot, 195-pounder averaged 9.5 yards per carry and also returned two kickoffs for scores and intercepted a pass against 6A's top-ranked Oakland.

"His results speak for themselves and I felt like he was the best player in 1A," said Pirates co-head coach Wes Stone. "I know sometimes things don't work out, and those other two were great players, but I'm going to go to bat for our kids when I feel like they deserve it and DaeDae was the best player in the state in our class. Anybody who saw him play would agree.

"It probably hurt him that we only got to play eight regular-season games, so the other two finalists had better stats, but when you look at what he accomplished in the games we played, not to mention that he's a great team leader, it's hard for me to accept that somebody else was any better than him overall."

Huckabey helped Meigs County win its region title for a fifth consecutive year before being knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. He led the Tigers with 400 receiving yards and five TDs and finished among the area's leaders with four interceptions on defense, including one returned for a score. On special teams he returned both a kickoff and punt for TDs, averaging 37 yards per kickoff return and 21 yards on punt returns, and led the area with a 44.3-yard punting average.

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