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At 7 p.m. Thursday, McCallie’s senior linebacker Aaron Crowder will attempt to lead his school’s football program to his third consecutive TSSAA Division II-AAA state title when the Blue Tornado faces Montgomery Bell Academy in the BlueCross Bowl. at Finley Stadium.
Exactly 24 hours later, he’ll don a tuxedo and display the kind of velvety voice few have for the school’s 37th annual “Candlelight” Christmas concert at a sold-out McCallie Chapel. There will be another performance on Saturday night.
Lee Burns, the principal of the school, said of Crowder’s diverse talents: âAaron can knock you out on the soccer field, then knock you out with his singing voice. He’s so talented on so many fronts, and he can knock you out. has such energy. He brings out the best in everyone around him. “
McCallie’s football coach Ralph Potter has observed both Crowder’s athletic talent and his knack for improving those around him since the player was in middle school.
âEven in sophomore he was a leader,â said Potter, who will be aiming for his fourth state title atop his alma mater, the Blue Tornado having also won everything in 2001. âHe’s really like a coach on the train. field.. I’m going to have to start earning my salary again next year. “
James Harr, director of choral programs at the school, undoubtedly feels the same.
âWhen he’s not available it is obvious that something is missing,â Harr said of Crowder’s musical chops, which include some pretty impressive piano skills, as well as playing the guitar, playing guitar. trumpet or drums. “As good as he is on a soccer field, he is as good or better in the choir or band. He even writes music. Nine times out of 10 when our videographer, Brandan Roberts, wants a singer or a musician. , Aaron is on the list. “
McCallie’s senior linebacker Aaron Crowder
These efforts led to two of the most watched videos the school has produced, both showcasing Crowder’s great musical skills. The first was made last fall for Christmas and featured Crowder on the piano singing John Lennon’s classic “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” while his friend and comrade Samuel Ellis played the saxophone.
âPeople all over the world watched it,â Burns said of the video, which has been viewed over 25,000 times.
Crowder said, “It exposed me to people in a different way.”
Then came her starring role in the annual school hype video that came out the week of Blue Tornado’s soccer game against rival Baylor.
âI got so many calls on this one,â he said. “People I didn’t even know congratulating me. But I didn’t hear them because I always turn off my phone the week of the Baylor-McCallie game.”
So what does Crowder – who also wears a 3.7 GPA in class – like best: music or football?
âI don’t know,â he said. âMusic is my thing. But I would probably say football because of all the hours I spend there with my teammates – the Brotherhood! “
But the candlelight concert also takes up a good deal of his time, and Potter doesn’t interrupt his practice sessions for the long practices of the musical spectacle.
âI have a solo,â Crowder said of his choral contribution. “But the only instrument I play in Candlelight is the triangle. There is no part that is too small or too large.”
He played a big role on the football field for three years, including registering 2.5 sacks and seven total tackles against MBA in the 2019 BlueCross Bowl victory.
âWe started talking about three rounds at last year’s football banquet,â Crowder said. “There is some kind of pressure, but I expect nothing less. Plus, it’s the 20th anniversary of the 2001 title. Getting that ring would crown it all.”
In September, the Blue Tornado came back from behind to win 34-31 while beating the MBA at its Nashville campus for the first time in its history. But Potter and Crowder know they’re about to face a different, more dangerous version of the Big Red. For proof, just look at their two games against Baylor. MBA won 38-28 at Baylor in late October. They beat the Red Raiders 35-0 in the second round of the playoffs at Music City.
âWe just have to do the job,â Crowder said. âGo 100% every game. “
For more than 20 years, Potter and his assistant Chris Richardson have awarded the No.17 jersey to a top senior who gives the same 100% on every game as Baylor School star Jason Green, who has played for both. coaches during their time with the Red Raiders before being later killed in a car crash while in college.
Crowder was such an obvious choice to wear No.17 this year that Potter forgot to have the ceremony he usually hosts at the end of preseason camp to make it official.
âAaron comes to me and says, ‘Coach, we need to have the ceremony so the younger kids know who Jason was and why I’m wearing his number,'” Potter recalls. “So of course we did.”
At the end of the state title game, Crowder will wear No.17 for the last time before playing one last time in Candlelight the next two nights.
Burns said giving his Renaissance man the ultimate compliment, “I would love to have a whole school of Aaron Crowders.”
Thursday’s TSSAA BlueCross Bowl at Finley Stadium
CPA (11-2) vs. Lipscomb Academy (11-1), 11 a.m.
DCA (11-1) vs. Nashville Christian (11-2) at 3 p.m.
McCallie (12-0) vs. MBA (9-3), 7 p.m.