Top players in state named
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
December 26, 2012 12:07 AM | 1734 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the release of the all-state football rosters for each class, Cherokee County saw Sequoyah running back Blake Ingleton and River Ridge punter Austin Bennett listed among the top athletes in the state.

Ingleton, who broke the county rushing yards and rushing touchdown records with 2,193 yards and 32 touchdowns, was named to Class AAAAA’s honorable mention team.

Bennett, who averaged 41 yards per punt this year and was listed as preseason all-state, was selected to Class AAAA’s second team defense.

With his consistent performances throughout the year, it comes as no surprise to see Bennett named as one of the top punters in Class AAAA.

Only Pickens’ Tanner Brumby, who also played quarterback for the Dragons, was voted above Bennett.

Bennett ranked the honor only behind the Knights' making the playoffs.

“I'm very proud (of the selection),” Bennett said. “It's very exciting to find out that I was voted onto the team. It's great.”

For Bennett, being named to the team, while not a shock, was a pleasant surprise.

“I thought I did a pretty good job this year, but I honestly didn't think I'd make the second-team,” he said. “Maybe just the honorable mention list.”

Ingleton’s placement, however, is a bit more surprising, as he was actually this season’s Class AAAAA leading rusher.

Not only did Ingleton rush for more yards than those chosen ahead of him, but he did so in a fewer number of games as well.

While Sequoyah and Ingleton only played 11 games on the season, second-team selections Derrick Craine of Union Grove, who rushed for 2,105 yards on the season, and Kendal Conley of Whitewater, who rushed for 2,157, played 12 and 14 games respectively.

First-team selections included Esaias Chapman of Harris County, who rushed for 2,124 yards in 13 games, and Ware County’s Xavier Tolber.

Though Ware County made it to the Class AAAAA final and played 15 games during the season, Tolber didn’t manage to break 1,800 yards.

While Ingleton finished the year as the fifth-leading rusher in the state, Kendal finished sixth, Esaias finished seventh, and Craine finished ninth.

Tolber did not crack the top ten.

When asked about the lack of his inclusion in the first or second team Class AAAAA offenses, Ingleton shrugged it off.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I had a great season, and I was happy with it and with what my team accomplished. All I wanted was to have a winning record, come back stronger than last year, and to see my team make the playoffs, and it happened.”

Though Ingleton seemed unconcerned with the selections, he did feel that those chosen ahead of him benefitted from longer-lasting playoff runs.

“Really, I think they’ve probably been named because of (their team’s) standard in the playoffs, but it’s all right,” Ingleton said. “There is some really good competition in our class. I’m not bitter about it.”
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