Whitehaven High School football team honored with national ranking

Whitehaven High School football team honored with national ranking
Whitehaven High School (Source: Goode Football Photography)
Whitehaven High School (Source: Goode Football Photography)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Following an undefeated season and state championship, the Whitehaven High School football team received another award.

WHS was ranked 76 in the nation and received the Army National Guard national ranking trophy.

Max Preps and the Army National Guard hosted a celebration at the school Thursday to honor the team.

The team received a trophy and a banner to hang up in the school.

"People doubted football in West Tennessee, and it was just a great accomplishment for us," defensive end J'Len Smith said.

Winning a state title, going undefeated, and being nationally ranked takes a special kind of formula. You need to excel in the classroom, you've got to have athleticism on the field, but players and coaches also say the community played a huge role in this season's success.

"The parent association and for me personally my mother and father," linebacker Vontavious Thacker said, when asked about groups that helped him succeed this year. "My family. They pushed me so hard all year. Guidance counselor. Coaches."

Whitehaven head coach Rodney Saulsberry said he and the players hope they inspired the community as well.

"It's important to just know that you can get national recognition from Memphis, and we want to make Memphis proud," Rodney said.

The 2016 season was actually the second time in five years the Tigers were ranked nationally.

Saulsberry hopes to keep repeating the success and making the Whitehaven community proud.

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