Rural West Tennessee won’t have any high school football teams playing for state championships this weekend in Cookeville, but the area racked up in first-place hardware Monday in the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards Ceremony.
Four area athletes came away with first-place trophies in their respective categories.
University School of Jackson lineman Trey Smith was a finalist last year for Division II-A lineman. He came away with the trophy this time.
“After not winning last year, it was real important for me to come back and win it this year,” Smith said. “I’m very blessed by the opportunity to be back here and win that trophy.”
Smith is the sixth player from USJ to win the Mr. Football Award.
Andrew Goldsmith, who played running back and quarterback on offense and linebacker on defense for Trinity Christian Academy, is the second award winner from TCA and both have come in the past two years.
“I think it shows how much TCA football has accomplished the last few years isn’t a fluke or anything like that because we’ve had players good enough to be nominated for this award,” said Goldsmith, who followed former TCA quarterback Kyle Akin in winning the award. “Winning Mr. Football is something I wanted to do before the season started but didn’t know if I’d have the opportunity.
“But I did my best for my team this year, and I appreciate being able to win this.”
Emmit Gooden is a defensive lineman at Haywood who has an impressive resume filled with All-West Tennessee selections, district and region awards and nearly 40 offers from NCAA FBS football programs. He can add Class 4A Lineman of the Year to that list now.
“This is something that’s real special to me because there are some great players in Class 4A, and to be named Mr. Football from that list is something special,” Gooden said. “Some might think of me as one of the top prospects in the state, but this shows that I’ve worked to earn that title on the field this year.”
The fourth player from rural West Tennessee to win the award was Dresden quarterback Dresser Winn, who was named the Class 1A Back of the Year.
“This season has been a dream after I went to Memphis last year and got hurt,” said Winn, who spent the 2014-15 school year at Briarcrest Christian before returning to Dresden. “I wasn’t sure how well I could get acclimated back into the program here at Dresden, but things went well.
“We’ve got a lot of good players at Dresden, and hopefully one of us can be back here next year to try to win another.”
Smith and Winn will be back for one more year of high school football, while Gooden and Goldsmith wrapped up their high school football careers with their awards.
“It hurt to not be able to play last week and have the season end, but winning this makes that a little easier for me,” Goldsmith said. “I hate that I couldn’t be out there helping my teammates one last time.”
Gooden, whose Tomcats were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs with a loss to Memphis East, said he got back to trying to get better on the football field after the season ended.
“I know that loss in the playoffs wasn’t the end because I plan to play next year in college,” Gooden said. “To do that I need to keep getting better, and that’s what I plan to do.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751