Despite Mustang sophomore Kelvin Wells Jr. having another outstanding performance to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season, the Owls snapped a three-game skid of their own in an exciting 41-35 shootout at “The Corral.”
Wells went for 296 yards on 27 carries and scored four times, plus Hayes Hooper rushed for 110 yards as the Mustangs gained 427 yards on the ground, but Ooltewah countered with 563 yards of offense of its own. Walker Valley also had 57 yards in the air as the two teams combined for 1,047 yards of total offense.
Despite only gaining 10 yards in the season opener, Wells leads the area with 1,182 yards on 145 carries this season with 14 TDs to his credit.
Both offenses came out of the gate on fire, scoring at will. The only thing that slowed the teams down in the first half was themselves. Walker Valley had six penalties for 50 yards, while Ooltewah had a half dozen flags for 55 yards before intermission.
“We slowed ourselves down (with penalties). If we could have eliminated some mistakes then we may have (had) a different outcome,” said Walker Valley coach Ted Lockerby after the game.
While the offenses dominated the first half both defenses made adjustments and only allowed a combined 13 points in the second half.
“Our offense kept us in the game the first half and our defense took over in the second. I’m proud of our guys, they played hard, we just need to play a complete game,” said Lockerby.
The first quarter was more of boxing match then a football game. Both teams went back and forth countering each other’s touchdowns in combining for 35 points in the first 12 minutes.
Walker Valley found the end zone first, going 72 yards in seven plays and scoring on a 29-yard run by sophomore sensation Kelvin Wells Jr. on a fourth-and-7 play, giving the Mustangs an early 7-0 lead.
Ooltewah then took over the ball on their 40-yard line and marched it down, taking 5:09 off the clock and punching it on a Goose Manning 1-yard run to even the score.
Forty-five seconds later, Wells found a seam up the middle and took it 44 yards to the house to give the Mustangs the lead again at 14-7 with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
Not to be outdone, Ooltewah’s Randall Freeman scampered 45 yards on just the third play of the drive to knot the score at 14.
The Owl defense then stood tall on the next drive, forcing Walker Valley to go three-and-out and give the ball back to the dangerous Ooltewah offense.
After two Ooltewah penalties, Freeman only needed one play to give the Owls a 21-14 lead, racing 84 yards down the sideline while taking only 21 seconds off the clock and ending an offense-driven first quarter.
Neither offense slowed down in the second quarter. The Mustangs came out and put together a six-play, 70-yard drive. Wells weaved through the Owl defense and took it 52 yards, tying the game at 21.
After a solid return Ooltewah started their drive at their 44-yard line. After a holding call, quarterback Goose Manning hit P.J. Toney on a slant going 65 yards in just 24 seconds to put the Owls back on top 28-21.
Walker Valley then went 12 plays, taking the ball to the Ooltewah 10-yard line, but was shut down on a fourth-and-7, giving possession back to the Ooltewah offense with just about two minutes left until halftime.
Not wasting any time, Manning connected with Toney again for a 63-yard touchdown pass, this drive going 90 yards on just four plays and giving the Owls their biggest lead of the night, at 35-21.
With just 27 seconds left until the half, the Mustang offense went to the air as quarterback Logan Hindman found Gabe Cartwright for a 41-yard touchdown catch that closed the margin to 35-28 right before the break to give Walker Valley momentum heading into the second half.
Both defenses came out in the third quarter looking to redeem themselves and didn’t give up any points, forcing numerous punts for both teams and making field position crucial going into the fourth quarter.
Trailing 35-28, Walker Valley found their groove again, putting together a six play, 80-yard drive. Wells again took the handoff and went 46 yards to even the score at 35-all with just 8:26 left on the clock.
The Owl offense then came out and put together a 13-play, 53-yard drive, taking 5:38 off the clock, scoring on a 1-yard plunge by Manning to give the game its final tally.
The Mustangs got the ball back with 2:35 left on the clock, but couldn’t move it downfield. Ooltewah’s defense stepped up with the game on the line, sacking Hindman on third down and forcing the Mustangs to try and convert a fourth-and-18 to keep their hopes alive, but the pass fell incomplete, giving the Owls their fourth win of the season.
Walker Valley now falls to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in District 5-AAA with a trip to league leader Cleveland (3-3, 2-0) looming Friday.
Ooltewah (3-3, 1-1) will travel to Rhea County (2-4, 2-1) this week.
Ooltewah 21 14 0 6 — 41
Walker Valley 14 14 0 7 — 35
WV – Kelvin Wells Jr. 29-yd run (Adian Flock kick)
O – Goose Manning 1-yd run (Wishart kick)
WV – Wells 44-yd run (Flock kick)
O – Randall Freeman 45-yd run (Wishart kick)
O – Freeman 84-yd run (Wishart kick)
WV – Wells 52-yd run (Flock kick)
O – Manning to P.J. Toney 65-yd pass (Wishart kick)
O – Manning to Toney 63-yd pass (Wishart kick)
WV – Logan Hindman to Gabe Cartwright 41-yd pass (Flock kick)
WV – Wells 46-yd run (Flock kick)
O – Manning 1-yd run (kick failed)
Rushes-Yards 41-377 54-427
Passing 186 57
Total Yards 563 484
Comp.-Att.-TD-Int. 10-14-1 3-9-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 13-121 10-90
Rushing: Goose Manning 25-172 2 TDs, Randall Freeman 13-172 2 TDs, Jay Rudwall 2-26, Rico Weaver 1-7 (O); Kelvins Wells Jr. 27-296 4 TDs, Hayes Hooper 15-110, Gabe Cartwright 2-27, Hunter Keefer 4-14, Drew McClendon 2-3, Logan Hindman 4- -23 (WV).
Passing: Manning 10-14-1 186 yards 2 TDs (O); Hindman 3-8-0 57 yards 1 TD (WV).
Receiving: P.J. Toney 3-137 2 TDs, Matt Sealor 3-14, Freeman 2-16, Rudwall 1-14, Juice Arnold 1-5 (O); Cartwright 2-50 TD, Spencer Ferguson 1-7 (WV).
Records: Ooltewah 3-3, 1-1 District 5-AAA; Walker Valley 2-5, 0-3 District 5-AAA