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Plant City's Markese Hargrove takes home Guy Toph award

Plant City’s Markese Hargrove holds the Guy Toph Trophy, given every year since 1939 to Hillsborough County’s top football player. Hargrove rushed for 1,731 yards and helped lead the Raiders to a 11-2 record.
Plant City’s Markese Hargrove holds the Guy Toph Trophy, given every year since 1939 to Hillsborough County’s top football player. Hargrove rushed for 1,731 yards and helped lead the Raiders to a 11-2 record.
Published Jan. 29, 2016

TAMPA — A few days ago, Kenyatta Shaw went out and bought a brand new outfit for her son, Markese Hargrove.

A suit.

Hmmm. What could this be for?

"I had no idea," said Hargrove, a senior at Plant City High. "I figured it was for some banquets and maybe some graduation things coming up. But then mom buys all my clothes, so I didn't think much more about it."

On Thursday, Hargrove was told to put on his new suit and hop in the car because he and Shaw were taking a trip to downtown Tampa. No need to worry about school.

But why?

"Still no idea," Hargrove said. "She said it might be for some academic award or something (Hargrove owns a 4.8 grade-point average)."

But when Hargrove walked into the Hillsborough County School Board building and saw the trophies on the table, including one featuring a large gold football, he started to wonder: "Is this something big?"

Was it ever.

A few minutes later, Hargrove was presented the Guy Toph trophy, given every year since 1939 to Hillsborough County's top football player. Looking sharp in his new suit, he held the trophy tight, smiled a thousand-watt smile and posed for photos.

"Wow," Hargrove said. "When they told me what it was, it was overwhelming. There was a rush through my body."

Before the season, Hargrove said he could have never imagined the Guy Toph award was possible because, "There are so many great players in this county."

In the end, Hargrove had one of the best seasons in county history, rushing for 1,731 yards and 13 touchdowns and leading Plant City to an 11-2 record for the most wins in school history.

"This award caps off the season we had because the award is going to the young man that we built our program around," first-year Plant City coach Greg Meyer said. "He's a little undersized (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) so he's had to fight for everything he's earned. His work ethic and determination was contagious. His attitude spread through the team."

Other fall sports award individual honorees included:

• Volleyball — Chanelle Hargreaves, Wharton. Hargreaves, a signee with the University of Florida, led the Wildcats as a defensive specialist to the region final.

• Outstanding football lineman — Felipe Fernandez, Plant. Fernandez, a 6-foot-5, 302-pound tackle, helped lead Plant to a 9-3 record. Fernandez has 10 Division I-A offers.

• Girls cross country — Maggie Parrish, Chamberlain. She placed ninth at the Class 3A state meet in 18:59.77.

• Boys cross country — Daniel Dean, Middleton. A three-time state meet qualifier, Dean was also the Class 3A, District 10 champion.

• Girls golf — Kendall Johnson, Plant City. A multiple state-tournament qualifier, Johnson maintains a 6.9 GPA.

• Boys golf — Mark Nauert, Newsome. He averaged 36.4 in nine-hole matches, and helped the Wolves to district and region championships.

• Girls swimming — Morgan Tankersley, Plant. The sophomore was the Class 4A state champion in the 200 freestyle and maintains a 4.0 unweighted GPA.

• Boys swimming — Tommy Shaffer, Jesuit. Shaffer won the state title in the 100 freestyle and helped the Tigers to state titles in the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

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