Even though Walker Valley started out Friday evening toe-to-toe with a tough Ooltewah team, their undefeated 5-AAA opponent was able to gain a solid upper hand over the young Mustangs before the first half was over.
By the time things were all said and done, the Owls had flown away with a 42-14 victory over Walker Valley, which is now 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the district.
“That’s a real good football team. Ooltewah is the top team in our region, and they’re not there by accident. They came out early on, and we kind of got after them. We had some chances right there with our kicking game, but unfortunately that was only one third of it,” Walker Valley head coach Glen Ryan said. “We had some opportunities and turnovers, and we didn’t get it done. We had a first down in deep and then got thrown for a sack two times in a row getting knocked out of field position. We’re still making a lot of young mistakes, and we’ve got to find a way to get through that.”
While the Owls started off receiving, the Mustangs were able to recover their own kickoff but four plays later were unable to get a few points off of a missed field goal attempt.
Ooltewah did no better on their first possession, gaining only one yard to reach their own 21 yard line.
Following another short run for Walker Valley, the Owls’ senior QB Brody Binder fired off a 69-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams on a second down play with 7:49 on the clock in the first quarter.
Colton Morrow led the Mustangs down the field for a 98-yard return on the kickoff.
Just 31 seconds after the first Ooltewah touchdown and two plays later, Morrow finished what he started and crossed the final two yards to reach paydirt. Kevin Sebany’s kick tied the game up with 7:18 remaining in the first.
The Owls were able to take back the lead in the next few minutes, as Binder once again completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Williams.
Before the time ran out in the first quarter, Walker Valley pulled a trick punt out of their bag on a fourth down play.
“In a game like this you don’t keep anything in your bag; you throw it all out there. We had some plays, but we just didn’t connect on some. When you do make a big play, you’ve got to finish it, and we didn’t do that early on,” Ryan explained. “There were some flashes that show these guys where we can be. We just have to keep working to get there.”
Johnathan Davis was able to carry the ball 27-yards to the Owl’s 17 yard line, but back-to-back QB sacks moved the Mustangs out of field goal range, effectively killing their momentum.
Ooltewah got the only touchdown of the second quarter, which came from a 77-yard rocket from Binder to Anthony Turner.
After entering halftime trailing 21-7, Walker Valley was unable to come back in the second half and put together any plays to get themselves back in the game.
Instead, the Owls added two more touchdowns to their scoreboard in the third quarter while Walker Valley added none.
“We had some break downs here and there, as well as some mental and physical mistakes,” Ryan commented. “There were still a lot of things to be proud of out there, we just cannot make these mistakes against good football teams and expect to keep it close.”
At the end of the third, the Mustangs recovered an Ooltewah fumble on the punt return and were able to take over at the Owls 16 yard line to start off the fourth quarter.
Morrow was able to carry the ball nine yards to the 7-yard line, where Chandler Hunt took over and got a three-yard touchdown two plays later.
Adding insult to injury Binder was able to get one more pass into the end zone, this time a 59-yard touchdown pass to Turner with 5:33 remaining in the game.
“I don’t know if we would’ve beat this football team, but I feel like we had some opportunities to make the game a lot closer than it was and we just didn’t capitalize. Some of that is our fault, but some of that you give credit to them because that’s a great football team,” Ryan stated. “We’ve taken it on the chin four weeks in a row now and that’s tough for any young guy to swallow. We’ve got to find a way as coaches to keep them going and point out the things that we did right and point out the things we did wrong. They’re going to be ok when it’s all said in done.”
Morrow led the Mustangs in rushing, with a total of 72 yards in 18 attempts. Holt Spencer had 42 yards in six rushing attempts, while Alex King had a total of 26 yards in nine attempts.
Cooper Melton had one reception for a total of 27 yards.
Hunter Newport had 10 assisted tackles for the night, while Ric Kennett had seven assisted tackles.
Tanner Dillard had three solo tackles and six assisted tackles, as well as two quarterback sacks, two tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
Walker Valley’s difficult schedule continues next week when they host county rival Cleveland, who are currently 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the district.
The Raiders were able to get a 21-20 victory over the Bears Friday night and will prove quite a challenge for the Mustangs.
“We’ve got to go out and do the little things — be more consistent, be better up front then what we are, we’ve got to connect on opportunities and plays,” Ryan explained. “Defensively, we play brilliant at times and then we have some breakdowns. We’ve got to get more consistent on that side too. Meanwhile, we have to keep improving our kicking game, which is one area that’s really coming on.”