CHATTANOOGA — Walker Valley made the most of its 20 minutes in the spotlight Saturday in the Chattanooga Kickoff Classic Jamboree at Finley Stadium Saturday. The Mustangs scored on two of their three possessions, and defeated Hixson 14-0.
Hunter Newport and Cooper Melton each scored on back-to-back possessions for the Mustangs.
“It was a good little dress rehearsal. We still made a few mistakes out there, had a couple of breakdowns on the option early on. But they straightened up and played it well. We kind of let down on the last series on offense up front and didn’t block real well. Overall, I was pretty pleased,” said Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan.
The Mustangs opened with a 10-play drive from their own 30-yard line, staying mainly on the ground. Quarterback Josh Jones went 3-for-3 in the air, connecting first with Zach Eslinger for five yards and Hunter Newport for 14 before finding Newport open again on the final play of the march for a 3-yard touchdown with 16:26 left on the continuous clock. Kevin Sabany made it 7-0 with the extra point.
Walker Valley after giving up a long run to the Wildcats, bowed up on defense and force a Hixson punt. The Mustangs took over on their own 15-yard line.
Kolten Gibson wasted no time putting the second score on the board for Walker Valley, finding Melton open in the flat. Melton shook off a couple of would-be Wildcats tackler and raced untouched 85 yards down the sideline for the TD with 19:08 on the board. Sabany’s PAT made the score 14-0.
“We came down and stayed very basic. We stayed with our base offense. We just wanted to work on fundamentals tonight and get those polished up a little bit before going into East Ridge next week. It is what it is, a little dress rehearsal before we get into the real thing. Now we get down to business. From here on out they all count, we don’t get any second chances,” said Ryan.
The Walker Valley defense again stiffened against Hixson and the Wildcats punted to the Mustangs 31 with 4:06 left in the game. This time the Walker Valley offense sputtered, gaining only four yards on three plays. A punt to the Hixson 29-yard line put the ball in play with just under two minutes on the clock and the Mustangs were able to hold the Wildcats down as the game came to a close.
“We’ve got to keep working and keep getting better. As long as we stay hungry and don’t get satisfied I feel like we have a shot at having a decent year,” said Ryan.