West football dethrones defending Class 5A state champion Powell in 28-21 win

Ja’Qurrius Wrenn bumped helmets and hugged teammates Brayden and Cayden Latham in the end zone. This was after he dashed up the left sideline for a punt return touchdown that started from the 50-yard line, giving West High School a 14-6 lead in the third quarter.

Wrenn also had an end-zone interception in the second quarter, stopping a potential score from Powell.

“I’ve known him (since the) eighth grade, what stood out about him was that he was just different,” teammate Cayden Latham said. “He’s an athlete, there’s nothing bad about him. I’m surprised he doesn’t have stars.”

Regardless of how many stars recruiting sites give Wrenn, his play on defense and special teams — along with an interception returned from the end zone for a touchdown by junior Marshaun Bowers — helped lead West to a 28-21 semifinal win over defending Class 5A state champion Powell.

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The Rebels haven’t been in the championship round since winning in 2014 and have never had an undefeated record in the program’s 71-year history. West (14-0) will face Page (12-2) at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Chattanooga's Finley Stadium.

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Wrenn said, regarding the feeling of the possibility of winning a state title.

Latham, who had crucial pass breakups Friday, said this win for West was “revenge from last year.” While coach Lamar Brown said he doesn’t view the win as payback after its 35-7 loss to Powell in last season's semifinals, he does believe his team earned the right to make it to the championship round.

“I’m really happy for our kids,” Brown said. “They battled all year, this group is deserving. “They had to go out and prove it tonight and fought for 48 minutes tonight and somehow found a way to come out on top.”

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Brown also had much praise for Wrenn’s impact and explained what makes him an influential piece of the team.

“Big-time player,” Brown said. “Athletic, he’s the leader on the back end of our defense. Makes big plays for us on offense and we know we can count on two. He’s always going to give us his best.”

The biggest player on offense for West was senior running back Brayden Latham, a Class 5A Mr. Football finalist. Latham had 31 carries for 145 rushing yards and a pass breakup in the end zone against Powell (11-3).

Powell’s Jordyn Potts, who completed 21 of 37 passes for 240 yards with one touchdown and two rushing TDs, helped led the Panthers on a 15-0 run that tied the game at 21-21 with 5:21 left in the fourth.

The recipient of the Rebels' final score was RJ Brooks, who made is only catch when the defense seemingly expected a run play. The Rebels had 168 rushing yards compared to the 26 passing yards it had prior to the touchdown.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: West dethrones defending TSSAA Class 5A champion Powell in 28-21 win