Walker Valley quarterback Kolten Gibson eludes an Ooltewah defender during Saturday’s jamboree at Finley Stadium, in Chattanooga. (Banner Photo: Lynnae Roberts)
CHATTANOOGA — With only three days until the season opener, Walker Valley head coach Glen Ryan says his young "Herd" has much work to do before kickoff.
“We've got a lot of young faces out there, a lot of new faces. We've got a lot of growing up to do. If we don't start coming around pretty quick, it's going to be a long season for us. That concerns me,” Ryan said after the Mustangs fell by scores of 20-3 and 14-0 against Ooltewah and Soddy-Daisy in Saturday's jamboree at Finley Stadium.
The Mustangs will return to Finey Thursday, when they will open the season against Chattanooga Central. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m.
After an opening drive that culminated in a 22-yard Charlie Swafford field goal that put Walker Valley up 3-0 with just over 15 minutes left to play in the 20-minute quarter, Mustangs senior quarterback Kolten Gibson connected with Brock Gibson for 30 yards and Caleb Grannan for 13 to set up the 3-pointer.
Ooltewah retaliated on its first play from scrimmage taking the lead with a 70-yard touchdown run. The Owls scored on three of their four possessions.
“About the only thing good about tonight is, we got a lot of players in. The first drive against Ooltewah wasn't bad offensively, but then we turn around and let them take it 70 yards on the first play because we don't have a linebacker that fills the outlet,” said Ryan.
Ryan alternated his starting 11 and second line on Walker Valley alternate possessions getting in as much work as possible for the younger Mustangs.
An almost repeat performance in the second scrabble of the night for the Mustangs put Soddy-Daisy on top 7-0 after the Trojans scored on a 51-yard run on their second play from scrimmage.
While the Mustangs punted on three of their four possessions, Soddy scored on two of its three touches. The Walker Valley defense showed some flash late holding the Trojans on a fourth-and-1 at the Mustangs' 45.
Ryan said afterward his kids need to grow up and toughen up quickly to be competitive in 2017.
“We got some looks for a lot of the younger kids to go out and show what they can do. That's what this year right now is shaping up to be, a build for the future. At the same time, we have a season to play and we want to come out and be competitive and play this year too. We don't want to just sit there and say we're playing for next year or the year after. We want to play for this year as well,” he said.
“We've got some work to do. We've got to grow up in a few places and we've got to toughen up in a few places. That's going to be the challenge for us as coaches and our players alike. We've got four days to do that.”