BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Cherokee County quarterback Coty Blanchard was named Alabama's Mr. Football on Wednesday after leading the Warriors to the Class 4A school's first state football title.
The senior was presented the award by The Alabama Sports Writers Association, which also honored the backs and linemen of the year in AISA and each classification of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
Blanchard passed for 2,916 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior. He also ran for 1,161 yards and 20 TDs.
"This is such a great honor for me, my family and everyone back in Cherokee County," he said. "It just means so much to me."
It was the closest race in the award's 28-year history. Blanchard edged out Demopolis junior running back DaMarcus James, 165-162. Prattville defensive back Nick Perry (107 points) was third. Cordova running back/quarterback Ryan Smith (96) was fourth and Theodore linebacker C.J. Mosley (89) was fifth.
Blanchard is bound for Jacksonville State after initially deciding to play baseball for Mississippi State. He's hoping to play both sports.
His father, Fran, played football for the Gamecocks in 1983-84. He had surgery to remove his appendix and gall bladder on Tuesday and couldn't attend the banquet.
Blanchard was the MVP of the 4A title game, rushing for 100 yards and a game-winning 5-yard touchdown while passing for 187 yards and another score in a 31-27 win over Jackson. Being named Mr. Football was a nice way to cap his final season.
"It just keeps getting better," Blanchard said. "I didn't think it could but it did."
Blanchard passed for a school-record 6,948 career yards and 75 touchdowns. He ran for 2,381 and 38 TDs.
Previous Mr. Football winners include Alabama receiver Julio Jones, Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell and Tampa Bay running back Carnell Williams.
"I've always wondered what it would be like to get this award," Blanchard said. "For me to get it tops everything except winning the state championship for my team this year."
The luncheon was held at The Birmingham News, and sponsored by Hibbett Sports.