West D-feats Walker Valley, 38-3
Title rematch with Page Patriots Friday
By Steve Williams
The West High Rebels make defensive football fun to watch.
For their fans anyway. For the opposition, it may seem more like a nightmare.
Coach Lamar Brown’s team had a ball Friday night, turning back Walker Valley 38-3 in the Class 5A semifinals at Bill Wilson Field.
West has now played 17 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown. That includes the four playoff games and the fourth quarter of the regular season win over Powell.
“Our defense is doing a great job chasing the football,” said Coach Brown. “They have been a fun group to watch. They play with a lot of effort and energy.”
Now it’s on to Chattanooga for a shot at a second straight state championship and the school’s third overall. Page High of Franklin will be the opponent again. The Patriots lost last year 47-13. Page also played Powell for the title in 2021 and fell 42-34.
Friday night’s game at Finley Stadium will kick off at 7. Both teams are 13-1. West has won 28 of its past 29 games.
The Rebels took command of the semifinal contest right from the start, knocking Walker Valley quarterback Evan Schwarzl loose of the ball on the game’s first play from scrimmage and seeing big C.J. Smith corral it at the Mustangs’ 18-yard line. Running back Marshaun Bowers capitalized with a 5-yard TD run three plays later.
Schwarzl had a strong arm but made some costly errors. After a 45-yard kickoff return by Hudson Makuch, Walker Valley got in scoring range on its second possession but had to settle for Eli Wilson’s 39-yard field goal.
Later in the quarter, the West defense struck hard again as Anderson Smith and Aeman Mohammed had back-to-back tackles for loss. The Mustangs’ QB, who also is the punter, tried to fake a punt and run, but was tackled by Mesijah Wrenn for a 9-yard loss.
The Rebels took over at the visitors’ 39 and Bowers raced in from 14 yards out for his second TD. Patrick Schmid’s second PAT made it 14-3.
On the ensuing kickoff it got worse for the Mustangs as Makuch fumbled and Ryan Scott recovered it at the 39. Wrenn got credit for causing the turnover.
Again the Rebels capitalized as Devin Jamison scored on a 36-yard run behind good blocking on the left side of the line to increase the advantage to 21-3.
West ended the first half with a 15-play march that resulted in Schmid’s 21-yard field goal. Quarterback Hunter Dance picked up a first down with a 13-yard run in the final minute of the drive.
The Mustangs got in the red zone on their first possession of the second half, but Smith stopped the threat with a pair of 8-yard sacks.
Dance and Bowers connected for a 41-yard TD pass play to boost the Rebels’ lead to 31-3 late in the third quarter.
West linebacker Jack Keith stripped the ball out of receiver Spencer Makuch’s hands and returned it 16 yards to the WV 21. The Rebels couldn’t cash in however as Schmid missed a 35-yard FG.
Anderson Smith ruined the Mustangs’ next possession with a 4-yard sack on third down and then blocking their punt.
West took over at the West Valley 24. Wrenn carried the ball five of the next six plays and scored on a 4-yard run on the left side with 1:40 to go.