Middle Tennessee Christian School senior running back Kemari McGowan was named the Tennessee Titans Division II Class A Mr. Award winner Monday at Nissan Stadium.
McGowan, a four-year starter for the Cougars, rushed for more almost 2,400 yards this season and 28 touchdowns. He is MTCS' all-time leading rusher with more than 7,000 yards.
Late in the season, McGowan rushed for a state record by a quarterback with 442 yards and seven touchdowns against Franklin Grace Christian.
"It was very exciting," McGowan said. "It's a big honor being a senior. I was hoping I would get it, and when I did it was just real exciting. I couldn't have done it without my teammates. It’s a good way to end my career.”
Blackman senior linebacker Conner Murphy, who had an outstanding season with more than 120 tackles, was one of three semifinalists.
McGowan started as a freshman at MTCS and quickly became a coaching staff and fan favorite.
"He's the most durable back I've ever coached," MTCS coach Fred Shambaugh said. "In the past we had a stable of backs and he didn't have to play every snap.
"This year he played the entire game and never took a play off. You just don't see that. I'm so proud of what he's accomplished and how far he has come as a young man and player. You don't get the opportunity to coach many like him."
McGowan is the first MTCS player to receive the award.
"Mari has set a standard and will always be remembered," Shambaugh said. "I'm just happy he was honored (Monday). He was standing in the middle, and when they were reading his accomplishments and they talked about the 400 something yard rushing, one of the guys beside him looked at him and said 'wow.'"
McGowan said he's uncertain about his future but hopes to be playing college football next year.
High school head coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists. A committee of statewide sports writers selected winners based on performance in the 2019 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration.
The awards were presented to the top football players in each of the nine classifications of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association. The top kickers in the state were also recognized. There were three finalists in this category, regardless of their school’s classification.
2019 TENNESSEE TITANS MR. FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
Division I, Class 1A
Holden Willis, Greenback
Division I, Class 2A
Cooper Baugus, Peabody
Division I, Class 3A
James Moore, Stratford
Division I, Class 4A
Tim Coutras, Nolensville
Division I, Class 5A
Elijah Young, South-Doyle
Division I, Class 6A
Lincoln Pare, Houston
Division II, Class A
Kemari McGowan, MTCS
Division II, Class AA
Austin Hill, ECS
Division II, Class AAA
Omari Thomas, Briarcrest
KICKER OF THE YEAR
Zeke Rankin, Alcoa