A trio of local standouts left Nissan Stadium as new additions to the Mr. Football family, as Lipscomb Academy’s Alex Broome, Pearl-Cohn’s Bari’On Brown and Summit’s Destin Wade each added their names to the list on Tuesday.
Broome (Division II-Class A) and Wade (Class 6A) won their respective classes where all three finalists came from area teams, while Brown was the only local finalist in Class 4A.
High school head coaches and media members nominated the finalists, while a committee of statewide sports writers selected winners based on performance in the 2021 regular season, with academics and character also being taken into consideration.
Wade is Summit’s first-ever Mr. Football winner, and his twin brother Keaten was a finalist along with Oakland’s Jordan James. The trio shared the same field just three days earlier in Chattanooga in the Class 6A BlueCross Bowl championship game.
“It’s a great feeling just to have (Keaten as a finalist) too, because it shows all his hard work is paying off,” Destin Wade said. “It’s a great experience to (be a finalist) with him.”
Brown is the first Pearl-Cohn player to win since Ke’Shawn Vaughn in 2014.
“I was just thanking God,” Brown said of his reaction to winning the award. “Hoping my mama was right there smiling – I know she was, just trying to see her reaction, my coaches’ reaction. I was just extremely excited inside. I didn’t get to show it outside – I don’t like showing emotion, but I was excited.”
Broome is Lipscomb Academy’s first Mr. Football winner since Zach Rogers won the Class 3A Back honor in 2008 (back when the state gave separate awards for backs and linemen).
“I’m kind of sad that (high school football) flew by,” Broome said. “I can remember things from freshman year like it was yesterday, but I think I’m just grateful for each experience that I’ve had that I can take and use in life. I’m grateful for those experiences and all the people I’ve met that have taught me different things about life.”
Other area finalists included DCA’s Bradford Gaines and Nashville Christian’s Josh Strickland in Division II-Class A, Lipscomb Academy’s Luther Richesson and CPA’s Langston Patterson in Division II-Class AA, Pope Prep’s Kenny Minchey in Division II-Class AAA, and Stewarts Creek’s Upton Bellenfant and Brentwood Academy’s George Laster for Kicker of the Year.
Full list of winners:
Class 1A: Khalik Ganaway, Peabody
Class 2A: Ty Simpson, Westview
Class 3A: Caden Buckles, Alcoa
Class 4A: Bari’On Brown, Pearl-Cohn
Class 5A: De’Sean Bishop, Karns
Class 6A: Destin Wade, Summit
Division II-Class A: Steele Haynes, USJ
Division II-Class AA: Alex Broome, Lipscomb Academy
Division II-Class AAA: Dallan Hayden, Christian Brothers
Kicker of the Year: Justus Chadwick, Tullahoma