Walker Valley quarterback Kolten Gibson ran the ball in 61 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. (Photo by George Norkus)
For the second week in a row, Walker Valley head coach Glen Ryan was left mystified at the end of another losing game.
The Mustangs (1-3) held a 13-12 lead at halftime, but the Coffee County Red Raiders (2-2) were able to add 29 points to the scoreboard, all while allowing the home team only 16 more points.
By the end of the game delayed a little over an hour due to weather, Walker Valley was on the wrong side of a 41-29 game.
“I don’t know [what to say]. In almost 30 years coaching, I’m at a loss right now. We’re not a very good football team right now, and we’ve got to get better,” Ryan said.
“We are digging ourselves into a big old huge hole. We had high aspirations for this football team and I just don’t know, there are some things that we have to fix. I’m not real sure what we need to do; we’re going to have to do some real heart-searching this weekend and figure out where we have to go and how to fix things to finish out.”
The Mustangs were unable to take advantage of multiple scoring chances, which gives their coach a good reason to be concerned.
“We had the chance to go up by two scores. We got down on the goal line twice but settled for a field goal and threw a pick. The score ended up 41-29; add two scores to ours, and that comes out 43-41,” Ryan explained. “We’ve got opportunities, and we are squandering them instead of taking advantage of them. We’ve got to do a better job as coaches, we’ve got to do a better job as players, and we’ve got to pull together, figure out what it is and get this thing fixed.”
Walker Valley started out the game with ball on their own 35 and after marching 55 yards in 14 plays, were unable to get the ball past Coffee County’s 10-yard-line and secured three points from a 27 yard field goal by Sam Gibson.
Mother Nature demanded an audience for her lightning display though, and with 3:30 left in the first quarter, the game went into a little over an hour-long weather delay.
Once play resumed at 9:10 p.m., Red Raider quarterback Alontae Taylor carried the ball in 16 yards for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked by Mason Oran, resulting in Coffee County taking a 6-3 lead over Walker Valley at 3:09 in the first quarter.
The Mustangs answered two minutes later, as Alex King ran in 27 yards for a touchdown with 1:01 left in the quarter.
The home team’s 10-6 lead soon became a two-point deficit.
With their possession carrying over into the second quarter, the Red Raiders carried the ball down to Walker Valley’s 25-yard-line over eight plays. Taylor was then able to run in 25 yards for the visitor’s second touchdown of the night. Coffee County’s attempted 2-point conversion failed.
After being unable to reach the end zone despite being only five yards out, the Mustangs were forced to settle with another field goal, this time a 22-yarder with 2:30 left in the second quarter. Gibson’s field goal gave Walker Valley a 13-12 lead over Coffee County.
The Mustangs had one more chance of getting another touchdown on the board before the clock ran out on the first half.
After Cody Morfield recovered Coffee County fumble on the kickoff return on Walker Valley’s 25, Mustang quarterback Kolten Gibson connected with Bryce Nunnelly and King a couple of times to get the ball just three yards out of the end zone.
A Red Raider ultimately picked off what was meant to be a touchdown pass.
Coffee County started out the second half on a strong note.
On their third play, Coffee County saw Matt Harner run the ball in 45 yards for a touchdown at 10:56. Harner also ran the ball in for a 2-point conversion, giving the visitors a 20-13 lead.
The Mustangs answered on their very next possession.
Starting out on their own 35, Walker Valley worked their way to the Red Raiders’ 5-yard-line in nine plays. On their 10th play, King carried the ball in the rest of the way for a touchdown at 7:42. The extra point attempt by Sam Gibson then tied the game up at 20.
Coffee County saw Tyrese McGee score on a 5-yard run at 2:09 in the third quarter and then went on to add two more touchdowns to the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
At 7:35 in the fourth, Harner ran the ball in four yards for a TD. A little over two minutes later, Taylor took a short, 1-yard trip into the end zone for another Red Raider touchdown.
“We just haven’t figured out a way to put it all together. Defense has been very porous, and offense has been inconsistent,” Ryan stated. “There were way too many mistakes in a battle where every score [counts].”
Trailing 41-20, Walker Valley’s final touchdown was a 61-yard dash by Kolten Gibson with 4:36 left in the game.
The Mustangs final two points were from a safety by Oran with 15.4 seconds left on the clock.
When it was all said and done, Walker Valley finished with a total of 420 yards, 247 by air and 173 by foot.
King had two touchdowns and a total of 107 yards on 28 carries, while Kolten Gibson had 7 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback was 20-34 on passing attempts and threw two interceptions.
Nunnelly had five receptions for a total of 88 yards, Zach Eslinger had 74 yards on four reception, and King had 54 yards on seven receptions.
Walker Valley travels to Chattanooga on September 25th for a battle with the Tyner Academy Rams with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.