Mustangs out run Pioneers
by RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Aug 24, 2014 | 689 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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WALKER VALLEY RUNNING BACK Alex King (33) heads to the goal line for a Mustangs touchdown in the third quarter against East Ridge Friday night in “The Corral.”
Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
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Walker Valley battled through a superfluity of first game mistakes falling behind East Ridge 14-0 in a penalty filled, 63-point score-fest Friday night inside “The Corral,” but rose to the challenge with a late game score that locked up a 35-28 win over the visiting Pioneers.The Mustangs and Pioneers racked up a total of 101 yards on 17 penalties while running and passing for a massive 858 positive yards.

Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan praised the Mustangs afterward, but cautioned there is much work to do if the team is to reach its goal of being the best Walker Valley football team ever.

“I'm proud of you because you didn't give up. You kept battling and kept battling,” Ryan told the team in the post-game debriefing. “We didn't let each other down and we didn't quit on ourselves. We are on a mission.”

The Mustangs' mission looked to be in peril early after winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half. East Ridge promptly marched 80 yards on 10 plays to take a sudden 7-0 lead.

Walker Valley's first possession on offense turned to near disaster after East Ridge blocked a punt and took over on the Mustangs' 11-yard line. The Mustangs caught a huge break on the first play after the blocked kick when a Pioneers touchdown was called back after a holding penalty.

East Ridge was able to work the football to the Walker Valley 3-yard line before the Mustangs bowed up to stop the drive on a fourth-and-short with 1:33 left in the first quarter.

After exchanging punts to open the second, East Ridge quarterback Jojo Tillery raced through the Mustangs defense for 23 yards and the second Pioneers TD of the night to put the Pioneers on top 14-0.

“We overcame our mistakes. There was a lot of confusion in all aspects. It's like we were in la-la land on offense, defense and special teams. We've definitely got to shore it up. I don't know if it was first game jitters or what. We've definitely got to get those things fixed between now and next week,” said Ryan.

The Mustangs wasted no time getting back into the game. Junior quarterback Josh Jones found an open Cooper Melton on a pass to the flat on the left side of the East Ridge defense. Melton quickly turned what looked to be a short gainer on the pitch and catch into a 71-yard touchdown. Kevin Sabany made it 14-7 with the extra point.

The Mustangs found themselves in fine shape after a bad snap on an East Ridge punt was recovered by Walker Valley at the Pioneers' 4-yard line. Alex King battled to the 1/2-yard line where Jones lowered his shoulders and followed center Bryson Bradley into the end zone two plays later. Sabany tied the game at 14-14 with the PAT to end the first half scoring.

“I give these guys credit, they got down 14-0 and fought back. In the past that would have been it. It would have been over,” Ryan said afterward. “They battled back and overcame those mistakes against a good football team. East Ridge is going to win a lot of football games.

The Mustangs made the most of their first possession of the second half.

Donell Armour and King set the Mustangs up at their own 44 on three carries after the second half kickoff. Jones and company reached down to overcome an ineligible receiver penalty to take their first lead of the game. Jones dropped back into the pocket and found an open Bryce Nunnelly on the sideline. Nunnelly hauled in the toss, made a quick move to the inside and raced 56 yards to paydirt to put the Mustangs on top 21-14.

The Pioneers were quick to answer with a 51 yard TD toss from Tillery to Monquel Hughes. East Ridge retook the lead late in the third quarter with a scoring strike on another Tillery/Hughes combination that covered 82 yards.

“We didn't do a good job of stepping up underneath and lost containment a couple of times on some runs with their quarterback. Our linebackers were over pursing and not playing inside out. It was sloppy on both sides.” Ryan said. “Defensively we made a lot of mistakes, offensively we made a lot of mistakes, kicking game-wise we made a lot of mistakes.”

The Mustangs answered the challenge once again with a drive that started on the Walker Valley 27. After a 3-yard loss on the first play, Jones again dropped back and this time found Melton once again. The sophomore wide receiver broke loose for 73 yards after the catch to the East Ridge 13-yard line. The Mustangs fought to the Pioneers 2-yard line before a fumble moved the ball back to the 5. From there, King took the leather from Jones and banged his way in for the score to the game at 28-18.

After forcing a Pioneers punt, the Mustangs were handed a short field at the East Ridge 41 to open the fourth quarter. Jones finished the two-play drive with his third TD toss of night, a 38-yard strike to Zach Eslinger that put Walker Valley on top for good with just over 11 minutes left in the game.

Walker Valley ended the night knocking on the Pioneers’ door as time ran out with the Mustangs at the East Ridge 5-yard line.

Ryan tempered his satisfaction with the Mustangs with the awareness of a long road ahead for the Mustangs if mission accomplished is to be celebrated at season's end.

“You have to kind of balance it out. I am proud of them for that (coming back), but at the same time we know we are a better football team than what we showed tonight. We've got a lot of room to improve,” he said.

“At the same time, it wasn't that long ago if we had played like that we would have lost. I tip my hat to these guys. They found a way to win even though we did not play our best ballgame. All those things (we did wrong) are fixable, we've just got to go to work and get better.”

The Mustangs have seven days to make needed adjustments before th

GAME SUMMARY

MUSTANGS 35, PIONEEERS 28

East Ridge 7 7 14 0 — 28

Walker Valley 0 14 14 7 — 35

First Quarter

ER — Jojo Tillery 18 pass to Andrew Map (Gray Smith kick), 6:15

Second Quarter

ER — Tillery 4 run (Smith kick), 7:32

WV — Josh Jones 71 pass to Cooper Melton (Kevin Sabany kick), 7:19

WV — Jones 1 run (Sabany kick), 0:39.7

Third Quarter

WV — Jones 23 pass to Bryce Nunnelly (Sabany kick), 10:36

ER — Tillery 51 pass to Monquell Hughes (Smith kick), 6:13

ER — Tillery 82 pass to Hughes (Smith kick), 3:40

WV — Alex King 5 run (Sabany kick), 1:21

Fourth Quarter

WV — Jones 38 pass to Zach Eslinger (Sabany kick), 11:07

Team Stats

ER WV

First Downs 13 16

Rushes-Yards 23-107 44-156

Passing 345 250

Total yards 452 406

Comp-Att-Int 18-29-0 12-17-0

Punts-Avg 3-35.3 4-28.3

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-0

Penalties-Yards 7-49 10-52

HIGHLIGHTS

Rushing: Jojo Tillery 15-67, Dquantis Jones 3-26 (ER); Alex King 16-70, Josh Jones 12-38, Avery Jones 10-25, Donell Armour 1-11 (WV).

Passing: Jojo Tillery 18-29-0, 345 (ER); Josh Jones 11-17-0, 250 (WV).

Receiving: Monquell Hughes 4-156, Jesse Jones 4-70, Darius Moore 2-39, Lurey Brock, 1-36, Dominique Millener 4-25, Andrew Mapp 2-22 (ER); Cooper Melton 5-135, Bryce Nunnelly 2-67, Zach Eslinger 1-38 (WV).

Records: East Ridge 0-1; Walker Valley 1-0.

eir first road trip of the season against the Sequoyah Chiefs Aug. 29 in Madisonville.

PREP STANDINGS

High School Football

District 5-AAA

Team District Overall

Bradley Central 0-0 1-0

Walker Valley 0-0 1-0

Ooltewah 0-0 1-0

Soddy-Daisy 0-0 1-0

Cleveland 0-0 0-1

East Hamilton 0-0 0-1

McMinn County 0-0 0-1

Thursday, Aug. 21

McCallie 44, Cleveland 0

Friday, Aug. 22

Bradley Central 21, Polk County 6

Walker Valley 35, East Ridge 28

Soddy-Daisy 49, Hixson 36

Ooltewah 58, Brainerd 12

Signal Mountain 28, East Hamilton 19

McMinn Central 41, McMinn County 34

Friday, Aug. 29

Cookevlle at Cleveland, 7:30

Walker Valley at Sequoyah, 7:30

McCallie at McMinn County, 7:30

Soddy-Daisy at Red Bank, 7:30

East Hamtilon at Kinsport Dobyns-Bennett, 7:30

Bradley Central at Murfreesboro Riverdale, 8

Ooltewah at Murfreesboro Siegel, 8

District 5-AA

Team District Overall

Loudon 0-0 1-0

Sequoyah 0-0 1-0

McMinn Central 0-0 1-0

Polk County 0-0 0-1

Sweetwater 0-0 0-1

Friday, Aug. 21

Bradley Central 21, Polk County 6

Greenback 49, Sweetwater 27

McMinn Central 41, McMinn County 34

Loudon 34, Wm. Blount 19

Sequoyah 43, Tellico Plains 27

Friday, Aug. 29

Chattanooga Central at Polk County, 7:30

McMinn Central at Boyd-Buchanan, 7:30

Loudon at Lenoir City, 7:30

Sweetwater at Meigs County, 7:30

Walker Valley at Sequoyah, 7:30