With the 2013 season finished and filed away in the annals of Tennessee high school football history, the time has come for recognition of the area’s top players.
Bradley County is well represented this year, with 16 local gridiron standouts earning District 5-AAA honors.
Under the direction of second-year coach Ron Crawford, Cleveland won a playoff game for the first time in 11 years.
The Raiders were able to top White County, Rhea County, and East Hamilton to reach the Class 5A semifinals where they ultimately lost to the Knoxville West Rebels.
The Raiders finished the season with an overall record of 10-4 and a District 5-AAA record of 5-1, with their only district loss coming from East Hamilton on Oct. 4.
Not surprisingly, Cleveland is well represented in the 2013 District 5-AAA awards. In total, eight Blue Raiders received awards this year.
“We had the third-most guys on there,” Crawford said. “I thought we had a couple other deserving guys. Two of our guys, Dalten McDonald and John Gaither, made honorable mention, after missing out by just one vote. I would say that we should have several guys make the All-State team.”
Quarterback Austin Herink’s phenomenal senior season earned him Player of the Year honors for 2013.
He completed 234 of his 358 pass attempts for a total of 3,315 yards, 32 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.
Proving that his arm was not his only asset, Herink had 273 rushing yards in 90 attempts and also ran in 12 touchdowns.
Senior DJ Jones, who was a two-way starter and kick returner, was named Receiver of the Year.
Jones finished the season with 956 yards on 68 receptions and averaged 14.1 yards per reception as well as scoring 16 touchdowns.
Both Jones and Herink were two of the 10 Chattanooga-area players named to the East roster for the 7th annual Toyota East/West All-Star Classic.
Head coach of the East team is Ted Gatewood of East Hamilton, with Crawford serving as an assistant coach.
The game takes place on Dec. 13 at Tennessee Tech University’s Tucker Stadium at 8 p.m., and will be televised on MyTV Chattanooga.
Junior TJ Parker was named Running Back of the Year.
Out of Cleveland’s 2,457 rushing yards, Parker accounted for a total of 1,241 yards in 191 carries, and crossed over into the end zone nine times.
Senior receiver Tyler Davis was named to the District 5-AAA Academic Team.
“Tyler Davis was the academic award winner. Not only is he a 4.0 student, but he also had 51 receptions for 1175 yards and 13 touchdowns,” Crawford stated.
Cleveland’s All-District members are senior Kimsey Bell, senior Jonathan Terrero, senior Darius Pillow and junior Koran Kennedy. According to Crawford, this marks the second year in a row Terrero and Kennedy have made the All-District team.
“Most of these guys are really self-motivated guys who understand the value of preparation. I don’t know if we did anything except point them in the right direction. The credit goes to the guys; they played within our system, executed how we asked them to, and worked hard to improve their skills,” Crawford declared.
Bradley Central had four players recognized this year.
Senior QB Brett Standifer tied with Ooltewah QB Brodie Binder for Quarterback of the Year honors.
Standifer completed 170-of-295 passes for a total of 2,247 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The Bears’ QB also racked up 410 yards and seven touchdowns in 134 rushing attempts.
James Peck was named to the academic team, while Cal Pickel and Dee Crisp were chosen as All-District team members.
Walker Valley also had four players earn district awards.
Tanner Dillard was named Fullback/Tight End of the Year.
In 51 rushing attempts, Dillard had 272 yards and three touchdowns, while he also had 16 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown.
Chandler Hunt was named to the All-Academic team, while Colton Morrow and Garrett Moore were the two Mustangs selected for the All-District team.