WV Star Gunslinger Epic, Seeks More
Kolten Gibson warms up before going on to post the second-most yards in a high school football game in Tennessee history. The Walker Valley senior quarterback threw for 526 yards and ran for 100 in a 62-55 loss at Stone Memorial Friday night. (Banner Photo: Patrick MacCoon)
They say records are meant to be broken.
Sometimes even by the same player, multiple times.
What senior Walker Valley gunslinger Kolten Gibson did this past Friday was nothing short of phenomenal.
The crazy thing was his 626 total yards against a picked-apart Stone Memorial defense were the second most in TSSAA history, yet came in a loss, making Gibson also a record holder for the most passing yards in state history by the losing quarterback.
“He is a player, and a really good one at that,” WVHS head coach Glen Ryan said. “We just need some other guys to step up and take charge in ballgames like he does. If we can get that, we will see some much better results.”
The humble leader despite the frustration from an otherwise out-of-this-world performance was able to keep his composure after a difficult-to -bear 62-55 road loss.
Gibson emphasized: “Records don’t mean much if you don’t win.”
As the looked-up to captain by, for the most part, a very inexperienced team, the dual-threat quarterback has 90 career touchdowns (68 passing, 22 rushing). But to him, wins mean more than just personal records.
Still the results from a game with nearly 1,300 yards of total offense between the Mustangs (0-4) and Panthers (3-1) in a basketball-type final score are still unbelievable.
In fact, Gibson shattered his previous career high of 512 total yards against Cleveland in another game where he accounted for eight touchdowns.
From the start it was obvious a special performance was in store.
At the end of the first quarter the fourth-year starting quarterback was 7-of-8 for 141 passing yards and had another 31 on the ground on just a pair of touches.
With the Gibson to Zeke Westfield show already in full force, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound starboard thrower had tied his school record of five touchdowns and thrown for 280 yards by halftime.
For the second time this season he had also connected with his 6-foot-4 wide receiver for over 180 yards and this time three scores.
Westfield went on to record a WVHS record of 13 catches for 226 yards even despite missing the majority of the fourth quarter after a rib as he got hit hard diving across the middle for a pass.
Gibson totaled 92 yards in a modest third quarter before he finished the seesaw battle with an unbelievable fourth quarter.
In the final 12 minutes of action, he was able to put forth a line many would call a respectable complete game total as Gibson threw for 203 yards and rush for another 26.
With his deep ball on point, of which he completed six passes over 30 yards and four over 45 yards, Gibson hit his receivers in stride with bombs throughout.
He also created big plays for several targets, as fellow seniors Brock Gibson and Sam Clements each had over 100 yards receiving as well.
Gibson added his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of his career with just nine totes for 100 yards in a historic effort.
Even while it would be easy to point fingers after the game or make excuses, Walker Valley’s greatest football player of all-time in the record books was accountable for his offense’s faults.
The Mustangs set a new school record in total yards, but still missed out on several more big chunks of offense.
If not for five turnovers and a stall on its opponent’s nine-yard line with two minutes remaining, the first win of the season for Walker Valley could have very well have been notched.
With life lessons and accountability at a premium this year for the Mustangs, there is still time and plenty of chances to achieve their ultimate goal.
While the loss to Stone Memorial stings, the non-region contest could build more character for more pivotal games to come.
As Gibson is on a current pace for 3,382 passing yards this season and 37 passing scores, one of the state’s top quarterbacks is fully focused on trying to make it to the postseason.
While Knox Catholic and Rhea County are expected to lead Region 4-5A this season, four of the five teams will make the TSSAA playoffs.
Gibson will do all in his power and try to will his team along with other senior leaders to land a big victory and try and overtake perhaps Lenoir City or Soddy-Daisy.
“We have to keep fighting,” Gibson said. “We all want to win and our goal is to make a run at the postseason.”