Elite 11: Record-smashing Larkins earns top honor

Douglas Fritz • Updated Nov 21, 2018 at 6:49 PM

Cade Larkins boldly went where no area player had gone before.

And the David Crockett junior quarterback reaped the reward for his record-smashing season by being chosen as the Johnson City Press/Times News Elite 11 player of the year Wednesday.

Joining Larkins atop the Elite awards was Johnson County’s Tyler Norris. The scheme-wrecking linebacker was picked as the defensive player of the year.

Player of the year CADE LARKINS, David Crockett
Defensive player of the year TYLER NORRIS, Johnson County
Coach of the year HAYDEN CHANDLEY, David Crockett
POS Player School Ht Wt Yr
QB Cade Larkins David Crockett 6-4 220 Jr.
RB Corey Russell Elizabethton 5-10 170 Sr.
WR Donta Hackler David Crockett 6-4 190 Jr.
RB Kody Lewis Unicoi County 5-10 180 Jr.
RB Charlie Cole Daniel Boone 6-2 225 Jr.
LB Tyler Norris Johnson County 5-9 190 Sr.
OL Blake Austin Science Hill 6-4 280 Sr.
QB Carter Everett Elizabethton 6-6 225 Sr.
RB Ian Hicks Dobyns-Bennett 5-10 203 Sr.
LB Mark Seidler David Crockett 6-3 225 Sr.
QB Luke Pollack Sullivan South 6-0 165 Sr.

Rounding out the top trio, David Crockett’s Hayden Chandley was the pick as the coach of the year. He earned his spot by leading Crockett to a school-record 12 wins, breaking the old mark by four, and into the Class 5A state quarterfinals after earning the first two playoff victories in school history.

Here’s a look at the annual squad:

Cade Larkins

David Crockett

Records started falling as the season progressed, and Larkins spent the final few games breaking and re-breaking his own marks.

He finished with all-time Northeast Tennessee records: 3,979 yards passing and 42 touchdown tosses.

He completed 222 of 376 passes and guided his team to a 12-0 record before a Class 5A state quarterfinal loss to Knox Central.

For his career, Larkins has amassed 8,398 yards passing with 71 touchdowns.

Corey Russell


Capping off one of the best careers in Northeast Tennessee history, Russell totaled 1,971 yards with 887 receiving, 584 rushing and 500 passing — a rare combination of multi-purpose talent.

He scored 25 touchdowns, had 51 tackles with four for loss, and picked off two passes while helping the Cyclones finish 10-2 and reach the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

For his career, he totaled 78 touchdowns.

Donta Hackler

David Crockett

He was a game-breaking threat for the Pioneers, finishing a superb season with 1,294 yards receiving. Hackler added 19 total touchdowns and racked up 1,566 all-purpose yards.

Also, as a defensive back, Hackler picked off four balls, defended eight passes, and had 36 tackles with three for loss.

Kody Lewis

Unicoi County

Nobody in the area ran for more yards than Unicoi’s blue dart. He finished with 2,025 on the ground with 26 total touchdowns.

Lewis racked up 2,272 all-purpose yards and even chipped in 64 tackles as a linebacker while helping the Blue Devils put together one of the best seasons in school history with nine wins and a playoff victory.

Charlie Cole

Daniel Boone

A bruising power back, Cole also flashed his speed on long runs this season. He totaled 1,854 yards rushing while racking up 25 total touchdowns to help the Trailblazers win nine games and reach the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Tyler Norris

Johnson County

A surprisingly good team that posted a 9-2 mark was boosted by the incredible defensive play of Norris. He crushed opposing offenses to the extent of a Northeast Tennessee-best 186 total tackles. Also, he added 18 tackles for loss.

Blake Austin

Science Hill

The Hilltoppers’ ground game kept the team competitive week in and week out, and Austin was the main grinder on the offensive line.

A Coastal Carolina commitment earlier this year, Austin later re-opened the recruiting process. He helped the Hilltoppers total 2,550 yards rushing with an average of 5.1 yards per carry.

Carter Everett


Like his teammate, Everett finished off a standout career with an impressive senior season.

Everett hit on 149 of 208 passes for a 72 percent completion rate. He totaled 2,374 yards passing and 27 touchdowns with just four interceptions. For his career he had 83 touchdown passes.

Ian Hicks


It was a tough season for the Indians, but Hicks never stopped pounding and grinding.

He totaled 1,687 yards rushing and was the undisputed area leader in yards after contact. Hicks finished the season with 15 touchdowns.

Mark Seidler

David Crockett

When the Pioneers needed defensive stops, Seidler was part of the crew that delivered. He collapsed opposing offenses with 131 tackles, including 71 of the solo variety.

Also, Seidler had 24 tackles for loss and added 403 receiving yards and two scores from his tight end position.

Luke Pollack

Sullivan South

A yardage monster week in and week out, Pollack helped the Rebels earn a playoff victory and eight total wins — with two of their four losses to likely state champion Greeneville.

Pollack totaled 30 touchdowns, with 23 coming on the ground. He had 2,494 total yards, including 1,384 rushing.

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