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December 7, 2012
Ensworth No. 1 in TNVarsity.com Top 25
Top 25 All-classification poll.
The poll created by your Tennessee preps Rivals.com site is presented each week during the fall through the state championship games.
The final entry of the 2012 poll came down to three teams with unblemished records. All games have been played and the votes are in on the final TNVarsity.com
Nevertheless, the final poll starts with the team picked by the TNVarsity.com pollsters back in August as preseason No. 1.
The August story started with a question no team in Tennessee could answer, "How do you beat Coach Ricky Bowers and his talented Ensworth Tigers?"
The season started and finished with Ensworth playing Memphis University School.
On Aug. 17, the Owls gave the Tigers a scare before Ensworth claimed a 35-28 victory, but the outcome was different this time.
With star running back Corn Elder carrying the load with 217 yards rushing and three touchdowns, the Tigers put the Owls to sleep 31-14 for their 21st-consecutive victory and their third straight D-II state championship.
Elder completed his career with 6,351 yards rushing, which is ninth best in TSSAA history.
Whitehaven coach Rodney Saulsberry has bordered on perfection with his Memphis-based Tigers for the past two seasons.
This time the veteran coach with the best talent in the state achieved perfection with a thrilling 36-35 overtime win over Maryville.
The game came down to the saga of a pair of two-point conversion plays.
Maryville head coach George Quarles called one of the trickiest of trick plays ever seen with 45 seconds remaining in regulation.
Rebels' receiver Cody Carroll took the handoff from Shawn Prevo on a reverse and passed to quarterback Nick Myers all alone in the end zone for what appeared to be a possible game-winning two-point play.
However, instead of leading 29-28, a flag was thrown for an ineligible player down field on a Maryville lineman.
After disagreeing with game officials that there was no way the Rebels could have had a lineman downfield, Quarles called on place-kicker Miguel McNelly to tie the game at 28-28 and force overtime.
Maryville scored first in OT and McNelly booted the point after for a 7-point advantage.
Whitehaven (15-0) answered with a 2-yard TD run from Mark Dodson that prompted Saulsberry to put it all on the line by going for a two-point play.
The Ole Miss commit took a handoff behind two lead blockers and danced into the end zone with the game-winning play that gave Saulsberry and Whitehaven the state title they coveted.
Maryville finished the season with a 14-1 record and 9 state championships in the past 13 seasons.
Dodson was named the game's Most Valuable Player after rushing 34 times for 318 yards and five touchdowns.
A week earlier in the state semifinal game against Mt. Juliet, Dodson had 304 yards on 22 carries.
The Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year finished the season with 3,295 yards rushing and 37 TDs.
Maryville (14-1) finished the season in the No. 3 spot in the poll ahead of No. 4 Siegel, No. 5 Beech No. 6 Christian Brothers (9-2), No. 7 MUS (10-3), No. 8 Brentwood Academy (9-3), No. 9 CAK (14-1 ) 10. Alcoa (11-2).
Here are the remaining TNVarsity.com Top 25 teams
11. Knoxville Webb (12-1)
12. Mt. Juliet (12-2)
13. Dobyns-Bennett (12-1)
14. Jackson Northside (12-1)
15. Knoxville Fulton (13-2)
16. Giles County (13-1)
17. Columbia (12-3)
18. Gordonsville (13-1)
19. Friendship Christian (13-1)
20. Powell (12-2)
22. East Hamilton (11-2)
23. Covington (14-1)
24. CPA (13-1)
25. Boyd-Buchanan (12-2)
Preseason TNVarsity.com All-Classification Top 25
4. Memphis University School
7. Mt. Juliet Bears
8. Oak Ridge
9. Brentwood Academy
10. Sevier County
12. Christian Brothers
15. Henry County
16. Signal Mountain
18. Giles County
19. White Station
25. South Pittsburg.