High school football top performers: Week 8

With Week 8 of the high school football season in the books, here are some of the top performers from this week’s action:

Breeden Gilbert, Greenback

Gilbert brought the boom for everybody to witness on Thursday, especially in the fourth quarter when it seemed like he was running over a Coalfield defender on every play. The junior running back rushed for 123 yards on 13 carries and tallied three touchdowns in the final period to lift the Cherokees to a come-from-behind 34-33 victory over the Yellow Jackets.

Junior running back Breeden Gilbert walks back to the huddle during Greenback’s 34-33 victory over Coalfield on Thursday, Sept. 5. (Image Brad Matthews / 865 Preps)

Mason Brang, South-Doyle

The sophomore quarterback was responsible for every one of South-Doyle’s touchdowns on Friday. Brang inflicted most of his damage with his legs, rushing for 63 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries, but he also threw it exceptionally well, airing it out for 219 yards and a pair of scores on 9-for-11 passing in the Cherokees’ 44-6 victory over Halls.

South-Doyle sophomore quarterback Mason Brang scrambles during the Cherokees 20-12 victory over the Eagles on Friday, September 1. (Image: Travis Haston / 865 Preps)

Brandon Burgess, The King’s Academy

The Lions have mainly relied on Cody Wyllins this season, but after the senior running back made an early exit during TKA’s 58-17 win over Grace Baptist – Chattanooga, Burgess stepped up. The senior quarterback completed 13 of his 19 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

Braden Collins, Farragut

Farragut’s 19-game winning streak may have been snapped in a 42-34 loss to Dobyns-Bennett, but Collins showed out for the Admirals, recording three touchdown catches, all of which were longer than 30 yards (32, 34 and 55).

Chris Hunter, Austin-East

Hunter tallied five touchdowns, throwing for four and rushing for another, as Austin-East cruised to a 51-7 win over Gatlinburg-Pittman.

Dylan Hopkins, Maryville

The UAB commit carried the Rebels to their fifth consecutive victory — a 59-38 win over Region 2-6A foe Cleveland — with a four-touchdown performance. Hopkins went 14-for-18 for 220 yards and three touchdowns through the air, while also rushing for 58 yards and another score.

Maryville senior quarterback Dylan Hopkins runs in the open field during the Rebels’ 28-24 victory over Alcoa on Friday, September 8. (Image: Travis Haston / 865 Preps)

Noel Leyva, Gibbs

The senior running back shined in a 42-13 victory over winless Seymour, helping to push the Eagles over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Leyva had a busy night in Gibbs’ triple option offense, carrying the ball 21 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

Cody Estep, Grace Christian

The Rams had everything going in a 42-6 victory over CAK, and Estep was one of the few Grace players that had a solid performance. The senior rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He also added 26 yards on a pair of receptions.

Xavier Malone, Fulton

Malone showed why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the state for the Class of 2019, completing 16 of his 24 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 40-7 win over Clinton.

Fulton junior quarterback Xavier Malone looks at the field during pregame warmups in the Falcons’ 41-12 loss to Maryville on Friday, Sept. 22. (Image: Travis Haston / 865 Preps)

Justin Howard, Northview Academy

The senior quarterback was a dual threat for the Cougars, completing seven of his 11 pass attempts for 123 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns in Northview Academy’s 28-20 victory over Pigeon Forge.

Tonquez Ball, South-Doyle

Ball made his only two touches of the game count, hauling in a pair of touchdown grabs that totaled 101 yards.

Blake Rankin, Grace Christian

The senior linebacker was a standout for the Ram defense, registering eight tackles and a 35-yard pick-six.

Dashon Bussell, Catholic

Bussell has seemingly found his groove with senior quarterback Jack Sompayrac, making this list for the second consecutive week. The senior wide receiver hauled in five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Fighting Irish’s 58-7 win over West Greene.

Luke Kirby, Grace Christian

Kirby threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns while completing 21 of his 38 pass attempts. The junior quarterback seems to be settling in to Rusty Bradley’s offensive scheme.

Riley Bryant, Powell

Bryant provided the only bright spot for a Powell offense that could not get much going against West. The junior wide receiver hauled in six catches for 118 yards, 86 of which came on the Panthers’ only touchdown.

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