Ponies’ Warbritton makes finalist list

Ponies’ Warbritton makes finalist list
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Huntingdon quarterback Tyler Warbritton was named today one of three finalists for the Tennessee Titans Class A’s Mr. Football Back of the Year.
Warbritton, who led the Mustangs to just the third perfect regular season in school history and a No. 1 state ranking in the final Associated Press poll, was one of four rural West Tennessee finalists for the prestigious award in different classifications.
He was joined by Henry County tackle Andrew Jelks, a candidate for Lineman of the Year in Class 3A, and Lee Mayhall (Back) and Chase Hensley (Lineman) in Division II-A.
The winners will be announced Nov. 28 at the Embassy Suites and Hotel Conference Center in Murfreesboro.
The award is based on regular season play, and this marks the 27th year that the honor will be given to Tennessee’s best high school players.
Warbritton has been the unquestioned leader of a Huntingdon club that won each of its regular season games by double figures — including a 24-13 triumph over then No.1-ranked (Class 3A) Milan.
He filled a variety of key roles for the Mustangs, rushing for 853 yards and 16 TDs, throwing for another 388 yards and six more scores, while also returning two interceptions for touchdowns, two punts to paydirt and a kickoff to the endzone.
Warbritton is joined on the 1A Back of the Year finalist list by Perry County quarterback Jacob Tucker and South Pittsburg running back Jujuan Lankford.
Tucker, a finalist for the award in 2010, has set the state career record for touchdowns. This season, he threw for 2,168 yards and 27 TDs while being intercepted just three times, and rushed for another 956 yards and 15 scores.
Ironically, Warbritton and Tucker will meet on the gridiron Friday when the Mustangs host PC.
Lankford, who didn’t even start until the fourth game for South Pittsburg, still rushed for 1,607 yards and 23 touchdowns and also returned three kicks for scores.
Mayhall and Hensley helped USJ to a 9-1 regular season in Division II-A.
In 4A, CAK (Christian Academy of Knoxville) junior quarterback Charlie High, West Greene’s Dalton Boles and Ladarius Vanlier of Maplewood were the finalists for Back of the Year honors.
High (6-0, 175) completed 72 percent of his passes for 3,388 yards and 42 touchdowns and also ran for four scores against the likes of perennial Class 3A kingpins Alcoa and Kingston in District 4. In his first season as the team’s starting QB, he is just nine TDs from tying the TSSAA state record for most passing and rushing touchdowns combined in a season.
High, who started one game as a sophomore and threw for 455 yards and six TDs, is being recruited by Clemson, Vanderbilt, Duke, North Carolina State and Syracuse, among others.
Boles became the all-time leader rusher in northeast Tennessee history this season by rushing for 2,489 yards and 30 TDs, the 12th best season in TSSAA history.
WG posted a 7-3 regular season record, losing for the only time in District 2 play to reigning Class 4A state champion Greeneville.
Boles (5-9, 185) finished his career with 5,415 yards, ranking Top 15 on the state’s all-time list.
Vanlier, a diminutive (5-6, 155) track star, too, and is considered one of the mid-state’s top backs, rushed for nearly 1,600 yards and 17 TDs for Maplewood.
In a 40-7 first-round playoff victory over Creek Wood, he ran for 316 yards and four touchdowns on just 16 carries.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.8.11

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