The Tennessee Titans announced the seven finalists for the team’s annual High School Coach of the Year award Thursday, and they include four from the Midstate.
Independence coach Scott Blade, Brentwood Academy’s Cody White, Pearl-Cohn’s Tony Brunetti and Nashville Christian’s Jeff Brothers are among the seven finalists.
The award was created to recognize high school football coaches who continuously demonstrate hard work and dedication to their football programs and focus on the safety and character of their players. The team’s regular and postseason performance is also taken into consideration.
All seven finalists have their squads in this weekend’s BlueCross Bowl state championship games.
Blade’s Eagles have rolled into the 5A championship game with a 14-0 record and an average margin of victory of more than 31 points. Independence plays Sevier County in Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium.
White’s Brentwood Academy squad is 11-1 entering Thursday night’s DII-AA title match against rival MBA (7 p.m.).
Brothers has led Nashville Christian to a 13-1 mark and is seeking the school’s first team state title in the 1A game against Greenback (11 a.m.) Friday.
Brunetti’s Firebirds are 10-4 and play Knoxville Catholic in the 4A BlueCross Bowl Saturday (3 p.m.). The Firebirds haven’t won a state title since back-to-back championships in the 1990s.
Other finalists include former Riverdale coach Gary Rankin, whose 13-1 Alcoa squad plays CPA in the 3A title game Friday (3 p.m.); George Quarles, whose unbeaten Maryville team takes on Ravenwood in the 6A championship Saturday (7 p.m.) and Trezevant’s Telli White, who will lead his 11-3 squad into the 2A BlueCross Bowl Saturday (11 a.m.) against Marion County.
The award winner will be announced following the conclusion of the 2015 BlueCross Bowl and will receive a grant of $2,000 to benefit his program.
The award is an extension of the team’s High School Game of the Week and Coach of the Week program. Each Coach of the Week received a $1,000 grant from the Titans to benefit his school’s football program.
Through the Coach of the Week program, the Titans have donated more than $180,000 in grant funding to high school football programs across the state.