Before the 2019 football season began, Tim Coutras wanted to establish a lasting legacy at Nolensville High School, Williamson County’s youngest school.
Coutras guided the Knights to the Class 4A semifinals for the first time this season and was among the 10 2019 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Award winners announced Monday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
His football coach Paul Derrick said that legacy has been established.
“Tim wanted to leave a legacy and with this award today, he completed that legacy,” Derrick said. “For him to be able to represent Nolensville, it’s just so special. He deserves this.”
Coutras became the first county Mr. Football winner since 2015.
“I think it’s really special for me coming from Nolensville, a four-year school, to be the first one to win this,” Coutras said after accepting the award as the top football player in Class 4A. “It kind of puts Nolensville on the map, but as much as it exemplifies individual stats, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches and my family and friends.
“We created a culture here and hopefully it carries on for years and years,” Coutras continued. “To be able to like 20 years down the road and look back and say that we created history is something special. … I’d say that’s my proudest accomplishment.”
The do-all senior exited in the first quarter of Nolensville’s 34-12 loss at Elizabethton on Friday with a knee injury. He will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury this week.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder led the team in receiving with 52 catches for 1,005 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for 171 yards with three scores. Defensively, his 56 tackles were third on the team, and he led the Knights with eight interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Will McDonald of Livingston Academy, who the Knights defeated in the second round 33-7, and Ty Youngblood of Greeneville were the other finalists in 4A.
Derrick said he was most proud of how Coutras emerged as a team leader.
“Tim’s a really good football player and I think everybody knows that,” Derrick said. “I’m most proud of the man he’s become and the leader he’s become.
“His leadership elevated our program to a new level. He’s not the most vocal leader, but he came out of his shell and became more vocal and that was special to see.”
Derrick called Coutras, a Liberty signee, the kind of player you could plug into just about anywhere on the field.
“There's certain people that are maybe a good quarterback or a good receiver or a good linebacker, but Tim is just a good football player,” Derrick said. “I really think you could almost line him up anywhere and he could get it done. He's just a really, really good football player and I’m so glad I got to be around him for four years.”
Coutras was among four finalists from the county, but the only one crowned Mr. Football Monday. The Kicker of the Year award, which is handed out regardless of classification, featured Luke Akers of Ravenwood and Paxton Perry of Brentwood Academy and in Division II-AA, Battle Ground Academy’s Nick Semptimphelter was also in the running.
More than 400 people, including the honorees, their families, coaches, school administrators and members of the media from all parts of the state, attended the 2019 luncheon at Nissan Stadium.
“This is such an outstanding honor for all 30 of the young men recognized today at the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards,” said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the TSSAA. “They were here not only due to their athletic ability that they displayed on the field throughout the season, but just as much for their outstanding character and academic achievements.
"This distinction is one they can be proud of the rest of their lives."
High school head coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists. A committee of statewide sports writers selected winners based on performance in the 2019 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration.
Akers was trying to follow Ravenwood's Crews Holt as a Kicker of the Year winner. Holt, currently at MTSU, and Centennial's Tyrel Dodson both were honored as winners in 2015. Akers, a senior who has only been kicking two seasons, is coached by his dad David, a former NFL All-Pro kicker as well as Alan Lowry, a former Titans special teams coach.
“I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful coaches and they have all helped me flourish,” said Akers, who will help lead the Raptors against Maryville for the Class 6A championship Saturday. “It’s been a fun and exciting season and being able as a senior to go out and play for a state title is awesome. I’m ready to get out there and do whatever I can to help the team the best I can.
“I’m just excited to have the opportunity to play one more game with these guys.”
Akers, a UCLA signee, has eight punts inside the 20, including five inside the 5-yard line this season. He also connected on a 47-yarder as his long field goal this year.
Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels said Akers was just wide on kicks from 55 and 58 this season, while his four missed PATs (54-of-58) were all blocked. He boasts a 93 percent touchback rate on kickoffs.
“I think he has a really high ceiling,” Daniels said. “He’s a guy we have confidence in and we don’t have any fear trotting him out there in any situation."
Williamson County Mr. Football Kicker of the Year finalists included Luke Akers of Ravenwood as well as Paxton Perry of Brentwood Academy. Alcoa’s Zeke Rankin wins the 2019 Kicker of the Year. pic.twitter.com/0VwpTXNHt0— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) December 2, 2019
Perry, a Brentwood Academy junior, led the Eagles kicking game by going 30-of-30 on PATs and 14-of-20 on field goals. He also had touchbacks on 25 of his 44 kickoffs averaging 57 yards per kick.
Alcoa kicker Zeke Rankin was named the 2019 Kicker of the Year.
Semptimphelter finished his senior year with 2,631 yards passing, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The 6-1, 180-pound quarterback is the all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns at BGA. He completed 68 percent of his passes with seven different receivers finding the end zone.
“As a kid I grew up watching this and to be able to be part of it, well, that’s pretty special,” said Semptimphelter, a Bucknell signee. “I think we had a great season, too. We obviously came up a little short in the quarterfinals, but I think our school and community is proud of us knowing we really gave everything we had in that final game and the whole season is a testimony of how hard we worked.”
BGA fell at top-ranked Evangelical Christian School 13-9 in the DII-AA quarterfinals. ECS, which is led by DII-AA Mr. Football winner Austin Hill, will face BGA’s region foe Christ Presbyterian Academy in the championship Thursday.
To date, Mr. Football area winners include:
Tim Coutras, Nolensville
Tyrel Dodson, Centennial Back
Crews Holt, Ravenwood Kicker
Clay Beathard, Battle Ground Academy Back
Derek Barnett, Brentwood Academy Lineman
Ryan Karl, Battle Ground Academy Back
King Dunlap, Brentwood Academy Lineman
Bill Whittemore, Brentwood Back
Troy Fleming, Battle Ground Academy Back
Benji Walker, Brentwood Academy Back
Avery Fleming, Battle Ground Academy Lineman
Scott Wells, Brentwood Academy Lineman
Troy Fleming, Battle Ground Academy Back
John Phillips, Battle Ground Academy Lineman
Richard Land, Brentwood Academy Lineman