Powell dominated Oak Ridge offensively in a matchup of the top two teams in the region on Friday.
On their way to the 38-7 win, the Panthers (6-1, 3-0 Region 3-5A) passed and ran for 387 yards total.
The Wildcats (2-4, 2-1), meanwhile, were held to just 83 yards.
“We obviously still have a lot of work to do offensively,” Oak Ridge coach Joe Gaddis told his team after the football game.
Oak Ridge’s one touchdown was scored on a fourth-down interception picked off in the middle of the field and returned 71 yards by junior Jayden Williams.
Powell’s touchdowns included a two-yard run by a top national prospect, senior defensive lineman Walter Nolen, who is listed as 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds.
Powell had four times as many first downs as Oak Ridge. The Panthers had 20; the Wildcats had five, according to preliminary statistics by Mark and Shawna Haste.
Powell junior quarterback Jordyn Potts threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. He had 21 passing completions on 32 attempts (66 percent), according to the preliminary stats. Potts also threw the interception picked off by Williams.
Oak Ridge junior quarterback Hayden Tarwater was 9-of-17 passing (53 percent), and he threw for 70 yards, with three interceptions. Two interceptions in the second half led to Powell touchdowns.
Powell’s leading receiver was junior Adarius Redmond, who caught two crucial passes on the Panthers’ second touchdown drive. The first catch on a third-and-long play moved the ball about 43 yards to the Oak Ridge 17. That set up the two-yard touchdown run by Nolen three plays later about halfway through the second quarter.
Oak Ridge was led by sophomore wide receiver Brandon Heyward, who had six catches for 53 yards, according to the preliminary statistics.
No one on either team ran for more than 50 yards.
Powell scored first on Blankenship Field on Friday on a six-yard touchdown pass from Potts to junior Ayden Green with about 2.5 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Oak Ridge tied the game about four minutes into the second quarter when Williams returned his interception for a touchdown.
But Powell scored two more touchdowns before halftime with the two-yard run by Nolen and a five-yard reception into the right side of the end zone by senior Jarvis Stockton. The Panthers had a 21-7 halftime lead.
In the second half, Powell tacked on a field goal and two touchdowns after interceptions for the final 38-7 score.
Despite the loss, Gaddis said he thought the effort from the Oak Ridge defense was really good.
The problem was that the defense had to play too much, Gaddis said.
“We can play,” he said. “We just have to get better on offense.”
It’s the second time in three years that Powell has defeated Oak Ridge.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats remain 2-1 in the region, tied with Karns. To play at home in the playoffs, the Wildcats will have to win the rest of their regional games, Gaddis said.
Oak Ridge faced adversity Friday night, the coach said. Now, he wants to see how the team responds.
Oak Ridge, which finished as Class 5A runner-up last year, has two remaining regional games. The first is at Karns (5-2, 2-1) on Thursday, October 14. In the second, the Wildcats will host Campbell County (6-1, 1-1) on Friday, October 29.
In between, they will play a non-regional game at Greeneville (7-0, 4-0 Region 1-4A) on Friday, October 8. Greeneville has played in the Class 4A quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons and won the state championship in 2018.
Powell’s remaining three games also include two regional matchups. The Panthers will play at Campbell County (6-1, 1-1) in a region game on Friday, host Knoxville Catholic on October 21, and end the season by hosting regional opponent Lenoir City (1-5, 0-2) in the final regular-season game.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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