By Donovan Stewart
The second week of the state playoffs brings something more than football, as on Wednesday, the Tennessee State Secondary Athletic Association (TSSAA) unveiled the Mr. Football Finalists.
There are three finalists in each classification, and one winner will be crowned in both the Lineman and Back Category the winners will be announced at a luncheon on Monday, Dec. 3.
Here is a complete look at the finalists in each classification:
Class 1A Lineman
Alex Matlock, Bruceton
Robert Robinson, South Pittsburg
Aaron Yates, JoByrns
Class 1A Back
Derek Carr, McKenzie
Marco Dailey, Mt. Pleasant
Chad Jordan, Bruceton
Class 2A Lineman
Dakota Crews, Lewis Co.
Elijah Epperson, Humboldt
Chase Horton, Camden
Class 2A Back
Randall Cobb, Alcoa
Kendal Harper, Peabody
Harrison Moore, Westview
Class 3A Lineman
Rogers Gaines, White House
Dont'a Hightower, Marshall Co.
Beau Lijenquist, Dyersburg
Class 3A Back
Jeremy Holt, David Lipscomb
Tremaine Hudson, Howard
Deaunte Mason, Pearl-Cohn
Class 4A Lineman
Slade Adams, Mt. Juliet
Aaron Douglas, Maryville
Brandon McLeroy, Rhea Co.
Class 4A Back
Brent Burnette, Maryville
Curt Phillips, Sullivan South
Jacquese Seward, Hillsboro
Class 5A Lineman
Mike McAdoo, Antioch
David Spurlock, Riverdale
LaDarrius Verge, Riverdale
Class 5A Back
Jeff Link, White Station
Andre Sterling, Farragut
Rodriguez Wilks, Smyrna
Division II-A Lineman
Blair Arrington, Davidson Academy
Hunter Cowan, St. George's
Ben Popeck, St. George's
Division II-A Back
Marlon Brown, Harding Academy
H.R. Greer, SBEC
Grant Jessen, St. George's
Division II-AA Lineman
Preston Bailey, MBA
Barrett Jones, ECS
DeAndre Jones, MUS
Division II-AA Back
Ben Bartholomew, MBA
Adam Currie, ECS
Chris Jordan, Brentwood Academy
Kicker of the Year
Mike Hammons, Polk Co.
Cody Jones, Jackson Christian
Kase Whitehead, William Blount
* Names in bold denote Stew's projected winner
Hunter On Fire
Not a lot of teams have been able to keep Kingsbury junior running back Gabriel Hunter under wraps this season.
Hunter leads the Memphis area with 2,496 yards and has scored 24 touchdowns and the last two weeks. In short, he 5-foot-11 junior has been unstoppable.
Two weeks ago in a win over Raleigh Egypt, Hunter scored four touchdowns and ran for 375 yards.
But he saved his best performance for last week, as he was incredible rushing for a state record 436 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-28 first round playoff win over Munford .
For his efforts, Hunter has been named the USA Today/Max Preps National Player of The Week. In his last two games he has rushed for 811 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
Three of Tennessee's best football players made their college picks in the last week with two of them electing to cross the border and play for Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Evangelical Christian School offensive lineman Barrett Jones, widely considered the state's top lineman prospect, and Marshall Co. linebacker Dont'a Hightower both pledged to the Crimson Tide.
The 6-5, 280-pound Jones picked the Crimson Tide over such heavyweights as Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and North Carolina.
Hightower, a 6-2, 245-pound linebacker, chose the Tide over SEC schools Auburn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, and ACC school Georgia Tech.
Fellow SEC school Arkansas will be the new home for Memphis Whitehaven defensive end Tenarius Wright.
Wright (6-2, 225) chose the Razorbacks over SEC schools Ole Miss, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Louisville, Miami (Fla.) and Indiana.
Class 1A Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - Wayne Co. 21, White House-Heritage 14
Team of The Week - South Pittsburg
You Can't Stop Me - Chad Jordan, Bruceton and Chas Scruggs, Lookout Valley
Upset Of The Week - Fayette Academy 14, Gleason 6
Best Second Round Game - Friendship Christian at South Pittsburg
Quarterfinal Picks: (13-3, 81.3 percent last week) South Pittsburg, Gordonsville, Hampton, Midway, McKenzie, Bruceton, Jobyrns, Mt. Pleasant
Class 2A Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - Goodpasture 47, CPA 41 in overtime
Team of The Week - Milan
You Can't Stop Me - Connor Lowery, QB, CPA
Upset Of The Week- Peabody 24, Westview 22
Best Second Round Game - Huntingdon at Milan
Quarterfinal Picks - (14-2, 87.5 percent last week) - Alcoa, Gatlinburg Pittman, York, DCA, Lewis Co., Goodpasture, Milan, Peabody
Class 3A Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - Marshall Co., 21, Jackson Southside 14
Team of The Week - Greenbrier
You Can't Stop Me - Andrew Franklin, LB, Mitchell
Upset Of The Week - Greenbrier 13, McMinn Central 10
Best Second Round Game - Pearl Cohn at Station Camp
Quarterfinal Picks - (12-4, 75 percent last week) - White House, Station Camp, Fulton, Knoxville Catholic, Dyer Co., Dyersburg, David Lipscomb, Bolivar
Class 4A Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - Red Bank 30, Knoxville Powell 27
Team of The Week - Henry Co.
You Can't Stop Me - Gabriel Hunter, RB, Kingsbury
Upset Of The Week - Volunteer 21, Tennessee High 14
Best Second Round Game - Mt. Juliet at Hillsboro
Quarterfinal Picks - (13-3, 81.3 percent last week) -Maryville, Red Bank, Sullivan South, Greeneville, Henry Co., Kingsbury, Hillsboro, Maplewood
Class 5A Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - Dobyns-Bennett 21, Oak Ridge 14
Team of The Week - Knoxville Bearden
You Can't Stop Me - Tyler Burstrom, QB, William Blount
Best Second Round Game - Whitehaven at Millington
Quarterfinal Picks - (13-3, 81.3 percent last week) - Smyrna, Riverdale, William Blount, Knoxville Farragut, Millington, White Station, Franklin, Independence
Division II-A Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - First Assembly Christian School 10, Harding Academy 7
Team of The Week - FACS
Best Semifinal Game - Davidson Academy at Southern Baptist Educational Center
Finals - (0-1 last week) - St. George's, SBEC
Division II-AA Playoff Outlook
Best Game of Week - Ensworth 34, Christian Brothers 27
Team of The Week - Ensworth
You Can't Stop Me - Orleans Opoku-Darkwa, RB, Ensworth
Upset Of The Week- Ensworth 34, Christian Brothers 27
Best Semifinal Game- Ensworth at Brentwood Academy
Finals- (3-1, 75 percent, last week) - Montgomery Bell Academy, Brentwood Academy
Friday Night Stat Stuffers
Connor Lowery, QB, CPA- Accounted for 361 yards, 231 yards rushing and 130 yards passing and had four rushing touchdowns and threw two touchdown passes in a 47-41 loss to Goodpasture.
Orleans Opoku-Darkwa, RB, Ensworth- Rushed for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers' 34-27 win over Christian Brothers.
Jake Ryan, QB, Knox. West- Threw for 316 yards on 15-of-21 passing and two touchdowns in a 35-22 win over Brainerd.
Chas Scruggs, RB, Lookout Valley- Ran for 249 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-21 win over Watertown.
Tyler Burstrom, QB, William Blount- Accounted foe 341 total yards (233 passing, 108 passing) in a 28-0 win over Campbell Co.
Travis Simpson, RB, Millington- Rushed for 210 yards as Millington defeated Collierville 31-0.
Gabriel Hunter, RB, Kingsbury- Was a one man show rushing for 436 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-28 win over Munford.
Tucker Tipton, QB, Cleveland- Rushed for 218 yards and one touchdown in a losing effort against Knoxville Halls.
Chad Jordan, RB, Bruceton- Ran for 256 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-40 win over Manassas.
Andrew Franklin, LB, Mitchell- Made 12 tackles and had one sack in the Tigers' 29-7 win over Ripley.