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The wait is over! Wren High wins first-ever state football title

Columbia – Wren High waited 62 years for its football program to reach the state championship game. The Golden Hurricanes made the most of their first trip, knocking off top-ranked and undefeated Myrtle Beach, 35-23, in the Class AAAA finals at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Wren senior quarterback Joe Owens threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns to pace Wren’s prolific passing attack. Tyler Cherry caught eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Logan Simmons added 95 yards on the ground.

Wren finishes the season with a 13-2 record while Myrtle Beach, the defending state champion, ends at 13-1.

Wren head coach Jeff Tate, himself a former player at Wren, says the championship is more than a team award.

“I’m so happy for our school, our community, our players, the alumni, just everyone associated with the program,” Tate said. “Our kids rose to the occasion tonight. They performed very well on the biggest stage and I could not be more proud of all of them.”

Wren opened the scoring in the first quarter, capping an 88-yard drive with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Owens to Hayden Willimon, but the Seahawks answered quickly on a 30-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Burger to J.J. Jones. Burger threw for 214 yards in the game.

Owens went back to work with a pair of scoring passes, the first from six yards to Eli Wilson to cap an 80-yard drive. With 14 seconds left in the first quarter, Owens combined with Cherry on a 16-yard pass for a 21-7 lead.

The Seahawks added a 35-yard field goal from Sullivan Hardin but Owens found Cherry again on a 38-yard touchdown for a 28-10 Wren lead.

Myrtle Beach cut the halftime lead to 28-17 on a two-yard run by Xayvion Knox.

Knox gave Myrtle Beach life in the third quarter, breaking off an 83-yard touchdown run to trim the Wren lead to 28-23 with 7:42 left. Knox finished the game with 162 rushing yards.

 But Wren again had an answer, going 80 yards on six plays with Logan Simmons scoring on a nine-yard run with 6:13 remaining in the third.

Myrtle Beach’s defense turned Wren away in deep it their own territory to stay in the game heading into the fourth quarter. Neither team scored over the final 12 minutes.

“I’m disappointed for our seniors, a really special group of young men,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “It’s a tough loss. To win a state championship you have to have the ball bounce your way and tonight it didn’t. It’s a tough loss for sure.

“Emotionally, we’re disappointed but I am super proud of the way they continued to battle through things all season.”

For Owens, who transferred to Wren from Mauldin after last season, the senior finished his season with 62 touchdown passes and 73 touchdowns combined.

“It wasn’t just me, it was this whole group of guys that came together for something special,” Owens said. “We bonded together from day one and we were committed to doing this. It’s a special feeling to win the last one.”

Adam Randall had six receptions for 102 yards for the Seahawks. Jones finished with five catches for 60 yards.

Wren linebacker Dez Frazier tallied 15 tackles, including two sacks, to pace the Wren defensive effort.


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