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Maryville Thomas Shuler

He missed all of last season with a knee injury. Through much of 2007, Rebel junior running back Thomas Shuler was still seeking a return to form. During postseason, the speedster the Maryville coaching staff hoped would provide the offense with the long ball was again going deep.

Beginning with a 127 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in Maryville’s quarterfinal rout of Red Bank, Shuler reeled off three successive 100-yard games as the Rebels powered up the running game in a big way. The eruption against Red Bank was Shuler’s first 100-yard effort as a varsity player. He would follow with 157 yards and three scores on 19 carries in the Maryville’s dismantling of Sullivan South in the semifinals. Finishing the season at top speed, Shuler ripped Maplewood for 116 yards and a touchdown in the Class 4A state championship game, adding a 30-yard scoring catch from receiver Stephen Shiver to all but clinch Maryville’s 11th title overall, a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association record.

Alcoa Derrick Brodus

It’s tough to argue with his stats.

Place-kicker Derrick Brodus is a soccer player by trade, the strong-legged fullback a real sight to see on free kicks. On the gridiron, his value to the Tornadoes has grown with every game this season.

Brodus was never better than in Alcoa’s 35-3, Class 2A championship game win over Goodpasture. Booming deep kickoff after deep kickoff into the Cougar end zone, Brodus recorded an astounding 58.7 yards per kick (six kickoffs, 352 yards). Four of his kickoffs went for touchbacks, with two of them sailing through the back of the end zone. Only one of his kicks would be returned, with the sixth kickoff landing out of bounds. If Brodus sharpens his technique on place kicks, look out. Power like his is a rare thing.

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