Walker Valley Quarterback Kolten Gibson set his sights on the end zone on a 42-yard run for a touchdown in the first quarter against Tyner Friday, in Chattanooga. (Banner Photo, Lynnae Roberts)
CHATTANOOGA — A week off and a few adjustments was just the prescription Dr. Ryan was looking for to cure the ills the Walker Valley Mustangs have been feeling lately. The Mustangs rolled up 320 rushing yards on a soggy turf and held Tyner scoreless until the third quarter in a 41-14 win over the Rams.
“The off week came at a good time for us. I'm just proud of these guys and proud of the assistant coaches and the job they've done in the past two weeks getting this team ready to go,” said Mustangs coach Glen Ryan. “The guys came out and played a whale of a ballgame.”
Mustangs sophomore quarterback Kolten Gibson played like a seasoned veteran barging his way through the Tyner (3-2) defense for 168 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Mustangs (2-3) up and down Bob Evans Field to hand the Rams their second consecutive loss.
“He's had that in him all year. We didn't put pressure on him tonight. We kept the pressure off. The defense played well and kept the pressure off him, and it makes a difference,” said Ryan of his young field general. “We came out and played football like we felt like we can play. It was a great time to do it getting ready to go into the district schedule.”
Gibson had solid help behind the line of scrimmage from junior running back Alex King, who carried 13 times for 73 yards and a pair of TDs. Teammate Bryce Nunnelly pitched in for 30 yards on offense and stepped in front of a Rams pass attempt, returning the leather 34 yards for a score. Nunnelly picked off two Tyner passes before the wet night was finished. Cooper Melton and Mason Oran also stepped up big for the Mustangs with interceptions.
“What about our defense? We've been kind of struggling there, but we found our groove tonight and shut a very good football team down. Hats off to the defense and the defensive staff for the job they did in getting things going,” Ryan praised. “We had four interceptions and a couple of fumble recoveries tonight. That's more turnovers than we've had all season combined. It was a great job on their part.”
The Mustangs raced out of the gate like Kentucky Derby thoroughbreds on the legs on Gibson who scored the first touchdown of the night for Walker Valley on a 42-yard keeper.
King kept the momentum rolling on Walker Valley's third possession, capping a 71-yard march with a 1-yard plunge behind the Mustangs' offensive line to make it 14-0.
The fun didn't stop there for the Mustangs. Nunnelly's pick six with just over a minute left in the first quarter led to a 21-0 Walker Valley lead.
After forcing a Tyner punt on the Rams' first possession of the second quarter, King again put the Mustangs on his back for 60 yards on the 88-yard excursion. Gibson capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown toss to Melton that put the game out of reach for the struggling Rams.
Walker Valley ended the half with a 3-play, 53-yard move that saw Kings carry twice for 37 yards around a carry by Nathan Zakkas for 10. King topped the 84-second promenade with a 25-yard score putting the Mustangs on top 34-0 after a missed point after.
“The offense, no pressure on them, they got to relax and go make plays tonight. Kolten did a nice job of running the boot play; the receivers did a nice job of catching the ball when it was thrown to them,” said Ryan through the din of the Marching Rams Band.
The Mustangs made up for a block in the back that nullified a 67-yard Nunnelly punt return for a TD and added a final touchdown to the scoreboard midway through the third quarter. After the assessed penalty yards, the Mustangs started on their own 21-yard line and moved to the Tyner 42 highlighted by Gibson's 33-yard carry. Nunnelly set Walker Valley up at the Rams' 12 hustling for 30 yards on a reverse and King put the final period on the paragraph with a 12-yard run to paydirt to make it a 41-0 game.
The Rams put two scores on the board in the fourth quarter as Ryan emptied the bench of Mustangs to close out the win.
“Alex ran hard, and Avery (Jones) got us a big first down to seal the game. The guys did a great job all around,” said a very satisfied Ryan.
“We were able to get some backups in late and a lot of our young guys got to play tonight. That's going to help them and us down the road.”
The trip to Tyner was the first of three consecutive road games for the Mustangs, who will make the short trek to Cleveland Friday for a Region 4-5A matchup.
“We are on the road the next week and the next week, but that's all right. We are going to enjoy tonight and get ready for the big one next week. We will start working on that tomorrow,” said Ryan.
MUSTANGS 41, RAMS 14
Walker Valley21 13 7 0 — 41
Tyner 0 0 7 7 — 14
WV — Kolten Gibson 42 run (Lawhorn kick), 10:12
WV — Alex King 1 run (Lawhorn kick), 2:18
WV — Bryce Nunnelly 35 interception return (Lawhorn kick), 1:22
WV — Cooper Melton 12 pass from Gibson (Lawhorn kick), 7:06
WV — Gibson 25 run (kick failed), 2:56
WV — King 12 run (Lawhorn kick), 4:43
T — Kieonta Halfacre 1 run (Issac Frye kick), 0:41
T — Chaysen Patrick 6 run (Frye kick), 3:26
First downs - Walker Valley16 Tyner 11
Rushes-yards - Walker Valley 14-320 Tyner 30-164
Passing yards - Walker Valley 40 Tyner 48
Total yards - Walker Valley 360 Tyner 212
Comp-Att-Int - Walker Valley 6-13-0 Tyner 3-16-4
Punts -Ave. - Walker Valley 3-29.6 Tyner 3-39
Fumbles-Lost - Walker Valley 2-0 Tyner 3-1
Penalties - Walker Valley 3-30 Tyner 9-49
Nathan Zakkas 4-18
Noah Davis 6-16,
Avery Jones 2-10
Nolan Cawood 1-5
Gibson 5-10, 50
Davis 1-3, 33
Tucker Mendenhall 3-16
Walker Valley 2-3