Cleveland quarterback Austin Herink will be awarded the Tennessee Teachers Education Association's player of the week award today for the combination of his strong academics as well as last week's on-field performance.
The senior, who has a 3.8 grade point average, completed 18 of 25 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 26-21 upset win over District 5-AAA foe Ooltewah.
"It's definitely an honor to be given an award that recognizes what you do as a student-athlete," said Herink, who leads the area with 2,611 passing yards and 28 touchdowns and has scholarship offers from Eastern Kentucky, UT-Martin, VMI and Youngstown State. "I stopped playing all but one sport so I could concentrate on taking more honors courses, and I know academics will carry me a lot further than my football career.
"But I've been playing this whole year with a chip on my shoulder because I believe I can play the game at a high level."
Ooltewah will be without leading rusher Desmond Pittman for tonight's District 5-AAA game at McMinn County. Pittman's future beyond this week is also in question after what Owls coach Mac Bryan called "a school-related issue."
But as of now, Pittman, a senior who has rushed for 1,043 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games, is not on the team. A win for Ooltewah would give the Owls at least a share of the district championship, while a loss could relegate them to third. Regardless of the outcome, the Owls have qualified for a playoff berth and now are playing for seeding.
Sonoraville hitter Carrie Cheeks and setter Kristi Vaughn have been selected to compete in the 2013 Georgia Senior All-Star volleyball match Nov. 9 at Woodward Academy in College Park. A total of 40 players were chosen statewide in all classifications by votes submitted by the Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association.
Cheeks ended her season with 427 kills, 55 blocks and 222 digs. Vaughn totaled 768 assists, 327 digs, 162 kills and 142 aces. The Lady Phoenix (41-9) won the Area 4-AAA championship and tied for fifth in the state tournament.
"It's great to have girls recognized at the state level," said Kristi's father and Sonoraville coach Trace Vaughn. "I think the coaches can see we have a solid program and that's what leads to individual recognition. I'm extremely proud of these two girls and the work they've put in. It's well deserved."
Destanie Smith of Bledsoe County, William Rymer of McMinn County, Denzell Boyd of McMinn Central and Tyler Rhoton of Franklin County are among the 20 Tennessee finalists in the Wendy's High School Heisman Award competition for 2013, and Gordon Lee's Katelyn Lee is a Georgia finalist while Fyffe's Trent Thrash is an Alabama finalist.
One girl and one boy from each state will be announced Monday as state winners, and 12 of those will be chosen as national finalists and go to New York City for festivities the weekend of the collegiate Heisman Trophy football presentation.
The award honors seniors "for their achievements in academics, athletics and leadership in their communities," according to the announcement release.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...