Football is a game made up of many parts, but a lot of fans see it as just a battle of touchdowns.
On every play there are 11 guys trying to make things happen, and 11 guys trying to stop them. Many times it comes down to a couple of one-on-one battles: lineman versus linebacker, or maybe running back versus safety.
And in the course of a season, some guys give a little extra, work a little harder, play a little stronger, or become a better teammate.
For the 25th edition of the All-Tough Guy team, the search was on for a captain who was not only tough but also able to overcome adversity and fight to the finish.
Meeting the requirements was Science Hill's linebacker and fullback Gad Nagba. The 5-9, 210-pound senior was the pick as the leader for the team that was chosen Wednesday by the Johnson City Press.
Nagba battled through injuries to help his team get over the Dobyns-Bennett hump, a fierce physical player who was the heart and soul of the Hilltoppers' defense.
Joining Nagba on the first team were Happy Valley running back Phillip Garland, Hampton lineman Boo Dugger, Elizabethton lineman Andrew Byers, Volunteer linebacker Robert Ramsey, and Unaka linebacker Austin Anderson.
Making up the second team were Science Hill running back Chance Pierce, Sullivan South receiver Evan Headrick, Dobyns-Bennett running back Zach Casey, Johnson County running back Patrick South and Daniel Boone linebacker Dustin Chandler.
Getting the nod as the All-Tough Guy coach of the year was Hampton's Mike Lunsford, who guided his team all the way from the scrap heap to a tooth and nail battle against Cloudland to win the Mountain East Conference title.
Garland was simply a hard-runner, who racked up many yards after contact while Dugger was a scrimmage monster who made things click for the Bulldogs.
Byers was a road-grading offensive linemen who stuck with it every snap while Ramsey tackled just about everything in sight for a Falcons' team that didn't have many opportunities to celebrate. Like Ramsey, Anderson's wrecked many a play by going hard enough to get involved in tackle after tackle.
For Pierce, he worked through an increasing load as the season progressed and kept his production on an incline.
Headrick was not inhibited by his Wes Welker-like stature, consistently going hard to get open and make big plays.
Casey and Chandler each struggled with injuries, but still managed to get the job done time after time.
Meanwhile, South carried the ball more than any player in the area, but kept grinding out the yards.