Going out a champ

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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — A senior season in the books, another state crown on head of Brett Kendrick.

For the second straight year, Kendrick and his Christian Academy of Knoxville teammates won the TSSAA Class 3A state championship. The Warriors capped a 14-1 season on Friday by defeating Milan 48-14 at Tucker Stadium on the campus of Tennessee Tech University.

"It feels incredible, even better the second time," Kendrick told InsideTennessee. "I can't explain it."

As it has been for much of the last two years, CAK's offense was dominant, converting 5 of 8 third downs and both fourth downs en route to piling up 608 yards.

It's been a wild ride that this group doesn't want to see end. Except for fellow Tennessee commitment Josh Smith, Kendrick will never play with his fellow Warriors ever again and the finality of things on the prep level hit home this week.

"It sucks," Kendrick said. "We were talking about it yesterday. It sucks. I've been playing with these guys for three years now, and it's just going to be hard to leave them."

Height, weight, speed, strength…there are all sorts of physical attributes with which to measure a football player. But, when the chips are on the table, it takes something beyond to finish the drill and own the scoreboard. After back-to-back titles, Kendrick explained that side of CAK.

"We're big competitors, huge competitors. We have a good team, and we wanted to get back here so bad. The competitiveness drove us back here."

That edge could prove fruitful in the Orange & White locker room with Tennessee having lost 34 of its last 61 games.

So, what now for the 6-foot-6 offensive lineman? He's going to suit up for the CAK basketball team, work on his footwork and stay in shape. He did say he was somewhat worried about losing too much weight but plans to continue weight training through the hoops season.

After that, assuming all works out between him and the next Tennessee head coach, it's on to life as a Volunteer. He's hoping offensive line coach Sam Pittman is retained for the next UT staff.

"Really bad," said Kendrick, who first started learning about Pittman at practice earlier this year in the spring. "He's like a second dad to me. He's a great guy, and he's always calling just to check on me, not even talking about football, just checking on me. I love him, and I hope he stays. He's a great coach."

Like current, former and future Volunteers, Kendrick knows little about who the next head football coach on The Hill will be, but he has a couple traits he wants that gentleman to possess.

"I'd like him to have some Christian input with our team, but if we can win games, man…winning games is good," Kendrick said.

For several weeks, rumors have spread about former Oakland and Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden taking over.

"I'm not sure how good of a chance we have now but just hearing his name, it makes me excited," Kendrick said.

Although he isn't familiar with Miami's Al Golden or Cincinnati's Butch Jones, the FOX Sports NEXT two-star has heard of Louisville's Charlie Strong.

"He's a good coach. He had an OK Louisville team, and he's done good with them," Kendrick said.

Stay updated on the coaching search and Big Orange recruiting by keeping it locked to InsideTennessee.com.

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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