Elizabethton’s Jake Roberts is Mountain Empire’s top scholarship recipient… Four other Carter County football players receive scholarship awards

Published 9:49 pm Saturday, April 30, 2022

The National Football Foundation was founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur and Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik along with journalist Grantland Rice. The College Football Hall of Fame is located in Atlanta, Georgia with a state-of-the-art and highly interactive facility.
The Mountain Empire Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards honors legends of the past and recognize the leaders of the future.
Mike Gonce is the President of the Mountain Empire Chapter of the National Football Foundation.  WJHL’s Kasey Marler was this year’s Master of Ceremonies.
In high school, there are over 5000 high schools and over 1,008,400 football players. Tennessee has 20,943 players and in Virginia 22,500.  In Northeast Tennessee, there are 1779 football players.
There is over 500,000 eligible for the team of distinction and from a pool of 3500 nominations only approximately 80 are selected to the National team of Distinction.  There are 4.0 GPA average, 64 team captains, 35 All-State selections, 13 Valedictions, 58 National Honor Society members, and 4-National Merit members.
On Saturday, Elizabethton’s Jake Roberts took the top honor and will be permanently enshrined in the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was selected to be inducted into the National Football Foundation Mountain Empire Hall of Fame.
Roberts collected nearly 1,700 yards for the Cyclones as a wide receiver while playing in three State Championships, and a State MVP award. He scored 28-Touchdowns and 168 points.
Along with Robert’s Unaka’s Caleb Lydick, Happy Valley’s Landon Babb, Cloudland’s Chase Shell and Hampton’s McKinley Kuhn received Scholarship awards.
Also being recognized was John Cropp who was selected the John Robert Bell Coach Award, and George Jordan was selected for the Jim Cradic Award.
Legends that were recognized were David Bibee who was a two-time state champion quarterback at Tennessee High in the early 70s.  He was a coach for over 36 years with teams like Tennessee, Appy State, Austin Peay, U.T. Chattanooga, Clemson, ETSU, and South Carolina.  He made seven bowl appearances as a coach.
Carroll Dale, who played football for the great coach Vince Lombardi, grew up in Wise, Virginia.  He played football at J.J. Kelly High and Virginia Tech. Dale was drafted by the Rams in 1958 and traded to the Packers in 1965.  He was a big part of the three consecutive NFL Championships including Super Bowls I and II.
Hal Miller, a Kingsport graduate from 1948 earned All-State and All-American Honors.  His D-B team was not scored on the entire regular season.   He attended Georgia Tech. and played in the All-Star game in 1953.
Tommy Sams, a Happy Valley Warrior, was simply unstoppable in the early 1990’s.  He scored an amazing 66 touchdowns including 32 his senior season. He rushed for over 5000 yards and was a three-time, 1000-yard back.  Sams was a two-time All-State and Mr Football in 1992.
The William V. Campbell Award went to Justice Parham of Tusculum College.
Others in the area that were recognized included Nathaniel Summerrow of Mountain City, Austin Riner of West Ridge, Garrison Barrett of Volunteer High, Justice Musser of Tennessee High, Brenden Reid of David Crockett, and Hayden Sherer of Dobyns Bennett.

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