Sweeney captures Mr. Football award, Posey finishes second
Forrest senior Boone Sweeney became the first Rocket football player and the third Marshall County gridiron star to named Mr. Football when he was presented with the Class 2A Lineman of the Year Award at Nissan Stadium in Nashville Monday.
"I'm still in a state of shock right now, there is no other way to put it," Sweeney said. "This is an elite group, not including myself, I'm just talking about everyone else."
Sweeney beat out Jake Harden from Boyd Buchanan.
"I had a pretty good feeling about his chances," Forrest head coach Matt Kriesky said. "This is huge and we are proud of him and this is a huge stepping stone for the program and I hope the younger kids will look at this as something to shoot for."
Marshall County standout senior quarterback Ashton Posey finished runner-up to Amari Rodgers from Knoxville Catholic in the Class 4A Back of the Year competition.
"I feel sorry for Ashton, he is a great athlete and a great person," Sweeney said. "It is just an honor for all of us who were nominated to just be here."
New England Patriots linebacker and Marshall County graduate Dont'a Hightower won the award in 2007 and Ray Hightower took home the honor in 2000.
Sweeney finished the 2015-2016 campaign with 52 tackles, 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries for the Rockets, who finished the season with a 10-2 record.
"I owe every bit of this to my team, my 'O' line mainly, my whole team, my coaches -- we are a family," Sweeney said. "I owe a special thanks to coach (Bart) Joyce, who talked me into playing when I was a freshman, if it wasn't for him pushing me to play I wouldn't be here."
Forrest claimed its first region title in 29 years, sporting an undefeated league record and won a first-round playoff game versus Bledsoe County before being eliminated by Class 2A Blue Cross Bowl participant Marion County in round two.
Marion County (12-1) has been to the finals six times, winning four championships, while Trezevant (10-2) is 0-1.
After the main trophy presenting ceremony, Sweeney and the other 16 winners were presented Titans jerseys with their name and number on them and were subsequently escorted down to the field where they had photos taken by media, family and friends.
"It's great for the school, the community and the whole town and I'm sure everyone back home is really proud of this accomplishment," Kriesky said. "His name will always be on this list and it is something he can always look at down the road and put a smile on his face for the rest of his life."
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, along with linebacker Brian Orakpo and kicker Ryan Succup were on hand to present the awards and Titans announcer Mike Keith acted as MC for the event.
"Everything they did today was first class," Kriesky said. "It was very impressive, this is a first class organization (Titans) and the TSSSA is first class and we are glad to be part of it."
Sweeney, who was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers All-State squad last season in both football and baseball is still unsure of his future as spring sports approach.
"I just hope I can move on to bigger and better things," Sweeney said. "I'm keeping my options open for both football and baseball. I can play both, so we will just see what happens."
Sweeney also captured the District 9A Lineman of the Year in 2014-2015.
Posey put up incredible numbers this year for the Tigers, passing for 3,215 yards on the season with 28 touchdowns, while surpassing the 5,000 mark for his career at MCHS.
Posey also rushed for 437 yards for the Tigers, who became only the third Marshall County squad to reach the semifinal round of the playoffs, where they lost to Knoxville Catholic 54-35 Friday at Knoxville.
Marshall County (11-2) won the 1984 2A title with a perfect 14-0 record under TSSAA Hall of Fame coach Bob Edens and in 1971, the Tigers made their first semifinal appearance, losing to Milan 27-0.
Knoxville Catholic (9-4), who will take on Pearl-Cohn (9-4) in the Blue Cross Bowl 4A championship on Saturday will be making its third appearance in the championship game, winning over Mitchell in 2008 and losing to BGA in 2003.
Pearl-Cohn will be playing for the title for the third time, winning back-to-back championships over Knoxville Halls and Maryville in 1996 and 97'.