This story was updated with more information at 9:09 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.
NASHVILLE — Meigs County quarterback Aaron Swafford would have loved to add another Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award to the trophy case, but it is not the award his heart has been set on.
"There is nothing else that I have worked for more than holding up that gold ball with my teammates," said Swafford, who has a 49-5 career record as a four-year starter. "It's my dream. Teammates, coaches and families and communities dream to win the first state football championship for Meigs County High School. We want to bring that trophy home to Decatur."
Swafford was a runner-up for this year's award, announced Monday at Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. Peabody quarterback Cooper Baugus, who has 2,100 total yards and 33 touchdowns, was named this season's 2A Mr. Football. Those two players will square off in the BlueCross Bowl at Tennessee Tech at noon EST Saturday.
Baylor's Elijah Howard and South Pittsburg's Ronto Tipton also were runners-up at Monday's Mr. Football awards ceremony.
Swafford has posted career-best numbers this year. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound signal caller, who holds every school record for passing and rushing, has rushed for 2,061 yards on 226 carries with 29 touchdowns. The Naval Academy commitment also has 1,125 passing yards with 12 touchdowns.
2019 TENNESSEE TITANS MR. FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
Class 1A: Holden Willis, Greenback
Class 2A: Cooper Baugus, Peabody
Class 3A: James Moore, Stratford
Class 4A: Tim Coutras, Nolensville
Class 5A: Elijah Young, South-Doyle
Class 6A: Lincoln Pare, Houston
Div. II-A: Kemari McGowan, Middle Tenn. Christian
Div. II-AA: Austin Hill, Evangelical Christian
Div. II-AAA: Omari Thomas, Briarcrest
Kicker of the year: Zeke Rankin, Alcoa
"Last year we lost to Trousdale (County) in the semifinals, and we threw it nearly 30 times," said Swafford, who threw for 1,744 yards and rushed for 1,124 as a junior Mr. Football. "We knew we had to develop a fierce running game.
"We have a great offensive line up front and great running backs in Will Meadows and Jackson Fritz. To win championships you have to run the ball well, and we were in the weightroom all summer preparing ourselves for this."
"Me and my teammates have a lot of motivation for next year. We can be a powerhouse and go very far with an improved chemistry," Howard said.
Tipton totaled over 1,200 yards despite missing his team's first three games with an injury. He averaged over 15 yards per carry and was a force also on special teams and defense. He scored seven rushing touchdowns in his team's first two playoff games.
"South Pittsburg is one big family. Everyone had my back and kept my head up," Tipton said. "Playing with my brothers is something I will never forget. We already told each other we are going to be there for each other throughout the rest of our lives."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com.