Cheers and Titans’ award come West Rebels’ way
By Steve Williams
The good feeling that comes with being a state champion continued the afternoon after West rolled past Page 47-13 in the Class 5A title game and on into last week.
The Rebels were in the Rocky Hill Christmas Parade on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 3, less than 24 hours after finishing their 15-0 season at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga on Friday night.
“The atmosphere at West High has been unbelievable,” said Coach Lamar Brown last week. “You could feel the excitement walking the halls. The student support has been great all year.”
On Tuesday evening, Brown was on the Sports Animal radio show in Knoxville and reflected on some big moments in the playoffs.
He said senior tight end RJ Brooks’ winning TD catch late in the 28-21 semifinal win at Powell “had to be one of the biggest plays in West High history.”
Coming into the finals, Brown pointed out he was not worried about his players not playing “full games” this season as a result of his team usually having a big lead. “But I was worried that Page had played in the championship game last year. They had already had a championship experience, but I thought our kids handled the whole day of the championship game great.”
The West coach added that he was “very impressed” with how quarterback Carson Jessie led the team’s two-minute drive at the end of the first half, which gave the Rebels a 26-13 lead.
Brown also complimented running back Brayden Latham on the radio show, saying “He is the best teammate I’ve ever coached.”
Lamar recalled one play in particular where backup RB Silas Cole was running for a touchdown and Brayden was running beside him down the sideline with “pure joy.”
Prior to the radio show, Coach Brown had the chance to take in a Knox County All-Star team practice session at Bearden and said Brayden was “the life of the practice. He’s never had a bad day.”
Lamar also recalled on the air an emotional moment he had this past season. “Our coaching staff always prays together and gives each other a hug before each game and one of the teachers filmed it.” The coach later saw it and was touched by it.
Another award came Brown’s way Tuesday when he was announced as the Tennessee Titans’ Coach of the Year.
“I think it is a great team award,” said Brown. “You don’t receive this unless you have special players and special assistant coaches. I am really proud of our football program.”
NEW RECORD: West’s defense finished with 26 interceptions this season, setting a new school record.
“Ja’Qurrius Wrenn led us with six,” said Brown. “Cayden Latham had five, and Marshaun Bowers and Brock Hatcher had four each.”
No. 2 RATING: Out of 346 high school football teams in the state, West was rated No. 2 in Sonny Moore’s final Computer Ratings of the season. Moore’s ratings include Division I (public schools) and Division II (private schools).
Murfreesboro Oakland, the Class 6A state champion, was rated No. 1.
Three other Knox County schools also were rated in the Top 30 – Powell No. 18, Farragut No. 27 and Webb No. 28. Bearden (7-5) was rated No. 36.
“I don’t know anything about computer rankings, but I do know we are 5A state champions and went 15-0 playing a tough schedule,” said Brown.