Walker Valley Mustangs running back Alex King cuts through the Tyner defense for a long gain Friday inside “The Corral” at Walker Valley. (Banner Photo, Richard Roberts)
Everything that could go right for Walker Valley pretty much did.
A week of rest paid big dividends for the Mustangs who rushed for 212 yards. Quarterback Kolten Gibson threw for 140 in a 49-6 butting of the Tyner Rams inside “The Corral” on Homecoming Friday night.
Alex King and Oran Mason carried the load on the ground for Walker Valley. King hauled the leather 15 times for 104 yards. Mason Oran had a huge night taking the ball from Gibson seven times and picking up 91 yards.
The Mustangs' (3-2) defense held the Rams (1-4) to a paltry 25 aerial yards, 66 on the ground and a total of four first downs.
“That's how you are supposed to play on homecoming,” said Mustangs coach Glen Ryan. “We were a little rusty. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and put ourselves on some long situations, but we were able to overcome them. The defense stepped up and played great tonight. We got some things done and got to play a lot of kids in the second half. It was a good night and I'm proud of our guys.”
The Mustangs scored three times in the first quarter and followed that up with three more in the second. The mercy rule was in effect the entire second half. Tyner put its' lone score on the board with just under six minutes left in the game against the Walker Valley second line.
“I hated to give up the shutout there at the end, but overall I feel like it was a complete football game. It wasn't a perfect football game by any means. We've still got a few things we have to work on. Part of that was being off a week,” said a pleased Ryan.
Gibson and Tucker Mendelhall set the tone for the Mustangs on the fourth play of the game when the junior field engineer connected with his senior receiver for 52 yards and the first score of the night.
The Mustangs followed up with Mason Oran blocking a Tyner punt to set Walker Valley up at deep in Rams' territory at the 20-yard line. Three plays later Gibson's second TD pass of the night was complete to Zach Eslinger for 15 yards. Sam Gibson put the Mustangs on top 14-0 with the extra point and the rout was underway.
Mustangs' linebacker Cody Morfield took care of the next Tyner drive stepping in front of a Rams' pass on the first play from scrimmage after a Walker Valley punt and returning it 37 yards the other way to make it a 21-0 game with four minutes still left in the first quarter.
“The defense stepped up and came up with a couple of big turnovers and a pick six. It was a good football game,” Ryan said.
The Mustangs picked up where they left off in the second quarter overcoming a couple of mistakes and completing a drive that began at the end of the first. King had a 25-yard TD run erased on a holding call and a 22-yard hookup between Gibson and King was called back for a second holding flag. Gibson made up for the amercements with a 15-yard screen pass to Oran that set Walker Valley up at the Tyner 11. On the next play, Gibson found Cooper Melton open in the north end zone for the score.
The Mustangs kept the momentum flowing on their next possession with a 71-yard trip to the end zone punctuated with a King 31-yard carry and Oran's 22-yard run. After moving to the Tyner 3, Gibson took the snap and pushed his way through the middle of the Ram's line for the score.
Walker Valley ensured a second half mercy rule clock with just over two minutes left in the half. The Mustang blasted Rams quarterback Shaylan Bailey forcing a fumble that linebacker Dylan Towers pounced on at the Walker Valley 39. Minutes later, Gibson found Melton for 33 yards to the Tyner 17. King put the Mustangs out front with a 15-yard TD run to cap the journey.
“We got the running game going a little bit. Alex looked good in there. We worked him back in some and it was good to have him back. Mason picked up where he left off against Coffee County and had some good runs,” Ryan said about his senior ball carriers.
With the clock running continuously, the Mustangs put the final touches on the homecoming celebration. With Noah Davis in command of the offense, the Walker Valley defense held Tyner on a fourth-and-4 to take possession at their own 37. Davis handed the laces to Oran who blasted through the middle of the Ram's defense for 53 yards to the 10. After a pair of short gains, Oran lowered his head to cover the final three yards for the final score of the night with 1:13 left in the third.
Tyner came up with a shutout breaking score midway through the fourth quarter to make it a 49-6 final.
Ryan said afterward the Mustangs would enjoy homecoming festivities and get back to work Monday preparing for a five-game run of region games beginning next week with Cleveland.
“It's region time. Everything you've done up until now is getting ready for these last five ballgames. That's where it all counts. We've got a tough one coming in here next week in Cleveland. We've got to go in, rest up this weekend and get ready to start Monday,” Ryan said of the upcoming gauntlet. “I feel like it was a good momentum builder going into the second half of the season. We've just got to take this game, build on it and keep improving each and every week.”