Mustangs Fall To Bears In Home Opener

Bradley Central's Devin Moore (5) is tripped up by Walker Valley's Reid Abel (73) during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley Central's approach offensively Friday was to take what the defense allowed. Apparently the Bears' approach defensively was to allow Walker Valley nothing.

 

The combination led to Bradley Central's 52-7 victory in high school football at Walker Valley.

 

The Bears didn't look at all like they missed graduated quarterback Cole Copeland, who signed with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After going 10-for-10 in the first half and topping the 200-yard mark passing, Dylan Standifer finished 13-for-13 for 303 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a 4-yard touchdown run and a 1-yard TD run.

 

"It was good to get out here and play again afer a tough loss and come away with a victory over a rival," said Bears coach Damon Floyd, whose team was coming off a season-opening overtime loss to Farragut in which the Bears turned the ball over six times. "I thought we had good effort and executed really well.

 

"Dylan did a great job. But he'll be the first one to tell you his job is to get the ball in our playmakers' hands."

 

Some simple-looking passes flipped into the flat areas were among the most profitable plays Bradley ran all night. Lameric Tucker went 63 yards with one for the first points of the game, and Nick Howell sprung him with a kick-out block on another that Tucker took 66 yards for a third-quarter score that made it 42-7.

 

Howell also scored touchdowns late in the first quarter and early in the second — the first on a 21-yard run around left end and the latter covering 53 yards on yet another swing pass.

 

Meanwhile, Bradley's defense was busy holding Walker Valley (0-2) to 164 yards of offense. The Mustangs ended up with 18 runs for 26 yards, thanks to a defense spearheaded by linebacker Jay Person.

 

"Our practice was intense this week, just because of the loss," Person said. "They were chop blocking us all night, but it's all good. We watched them on film and were ready for that. Walker Valley was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

 

Person totaled seven tackles, had a sack and was in on another. He made four tackles for loss — none bigger than the one for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-2 at midfield on the first play of the second quarter when the score was 14-7. The Bears scored two plays later.

 

"We ask him to do a lot of things," Floyd said. "With the way he's played the last couple of years, teams have schemed to run away from him. He understands his responsibilities within the different defenses we run. He's definitely an animal."

 

Tucker ended up with five catches for 176 yards. Howell was Bradley's leading rusher with 48 yards on eight carries.

 

Walker Valley standout quarterback Kolten Gibson has practically an entire new cast around him this year. He managed to complete 16 of 26 throws for 135 yards, and his 43-yard scoring pass to Zeke Westfield on a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter gave the Mustangs a brief 7-6 lead.

 

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter @KelleySmiddie.

 

Walker Valley's Zeke Westfield (2) runs the ball downfield during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

Bradley Central's Jay Person (1) and Jordan Mcillwain (21) tackle Walker Valley's Brock Gibson (24) during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

Bradley Central's Stephen Muhonen (19) dodges Alex Duke's (28) tackle during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

Bradley Central's Nick Howell (3) runs the ball downfield during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

Bradley Central's Henley Headrick (36) and Jay Person (1) tackle Walker Valley quarterback Kolten Gibson (3) behind the line of scrimmage during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

Walker Valley's Dylan Allender (20) runs the ball downfield as Bradley Central's Mason Mitchell (7) dives after him during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

Walker Valley quarterback Kolten Gibson (3) runs the ball downfield during the Bradley Central vs. Walker Valley football game Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, Tenn. (Photo by Erin O. Smith)

 

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