By Kris Freeman, Sports Information Director, White House High School
WHITE HOUSE – The 2017 football season came to a ceremonious close for the White House Blue Devils on Sunday as the team celebrated with parents, players, coaches and fans with the football banquet.
Senior wide receiver and cornerback Brett Drake was named the 2017 Most Valuable Player after leading the team in receiving with 18 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns, and playing corner on defense where he was fourth on the team with 64 tackles including four for losses, two fumbles caused, two interceptions, and a team-high six passes broken up. Drake also rushed 13 times for 61 yards and a touchdown and finished with 26 points with four touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Along with fellow seniors Seth Bumbalough and Miller Lowe, Drake was named as one of three permanent team captains for the 2017 squad.
Bumbalough and Lowe were also multiple award winners, as Seth took home the Eric Blaylock Sportsmanship Award after his career was cut short with a season-ending injury against Portland. Despite that, he still had eight catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 13 times for 124 yards, and returned four kicks for 136 yards including an 86-yard touchdown, the longest special teams play of the season. He picked off two passes for 62 yards and scored on both of them, making him the only Blue Devil player to score in all three phases of the game. Bumbalough was fourth on the team in scoring, and made 26 tackles with two passes broken up and a special teams block.
Lowe completed his senior year with 62 tackles at safety/outside linebacker, and made 10 tackles for losses with three passes broken up and an interception. He also caught three passes for 48 yards and rushed four times, scoring his lone touchdown from the backfield. Lowe received the prestigious Gourley Award. Lowe and Bumbalough shared the Co-Academic Award with a 4.0 grade point average.
Junior tailback and defensive back Preston Sharber won the Offensive Back Award, leading the team in rushing with 564 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns, tying him with junior Andrew Nixon for the team lead. Sharber was second on the team in scoring, and caught three passes for 23 yards and made 36 tackles with a team-leading four interceptions, plus a special teams block.
Senior right tackle Dawson Bragg won the Offensive Line Award, leading the Blue Devils to a balanced offensive attack with 1,376 passing yards and 1,880 rushing yards, all while giving up just five sacks as a unit in 590 snaps. Bragg played defensive end and ended the year with 42 tackles, eight tackles for losses, six quarterback hurries, two fumbles caused and three fumble recoveries.
Senior Carter Hunt, who battled injury off and on in 2017 after starting the season as the Blue Devils starting tailback in the jamboree and opening game, won the Defensive Back Award. He was fifth on the team with 63 tackles, including three passes broken up, three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Senior defensive end Tyler McMurtry was the Defensive Line Award winner, leading the team in five statistical categories
with 119 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 34 tackles for losses, four fumbles caused and 20 quarterback hurries. He also recovered a fumble and had a special teams block and was the Region 5-4A Defensive Player of the Year. His 9.5 sacks were the best in single-season school history and he finished one sack shy of Robert Curtis’ all-time sack total of 15 for his career.
Junior offensive lineman Colby Jackson won the Sully Award, which is a high honor named for former offensive linemen Cody and Cory Sullins, who graduated in 2005 and became starters for the University of Tennessee and now lead a business in White House. The award is a framed photo with the award requirements and a picture of former Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame head coach Vince Lombardi.
Sydney Easley is a sophomore and received the Scout Team Award, given to the player who excels the most in practice and preparation despite not being a starter on the field.
Two awards were given to community supporters, both of which are parents. The White House High School Citizen’s Award was given to Brian and Amber Burton, and the 2017 White House Quarterback Club Award presented to Jennifer Anderson.
White House will honor the 2017 Region 5-4A Team on Monday night at the annual region banquet at Cherokee Steak House in Gallatin. This banquet is open to players and coaches who are part of the team only.
The 2017 All-County Team and 2017 All-Midstate Team and All-State Teams are not expected to be named until later in December.