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 /Times Free Press.)
Slightly more than a week ago, quarterback Kolten Gibson went to Glen Ryan, his coach at Walker Valley, and proposed that his purpose for the Mustangs should encompass more than throwing passes and running, the things that have brought him prominence as a football player.
"He came and asked if he could play defense, saying he could help us there and he just wanted to help the team win," Ryan said. "I talked with his dad, who said he was aware of the chance of Kolten getting hurt but that he knew Kolten wanted to do all he could to help the team and that he was good with it."
So with one week of practice, Gibson joined the Mustangs' defense, and Walker Valley got its first win of the year, a surprising 45-42 win at Red Bank.
He did his quarterback thing, completing 25 of 48 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns and running for 48 yards and another score. He also had 12 tackles, including a lost-yardage hit, and intercepted two passes.
He is the Best of Preps area player of the week as sponsored by Waffle House.
"Everybody did his job, and once we got going the defense played lights out from the eight-minute mark of the second quarter through the second half," Ryan said. "I'm proud of the kids. They kept battling, kept fighting. They have refused to fold the tent."
None more than Gibson or his primary receiver, 6-foot-5, 190-pound Zeke Westfield, who caught 17 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns against Red Bank.
"I don't know why people aren't lined up looking at him," Ryan said of Westfield. "I think he has the tools to go to the FBS level. Here's a three-sport guy (basketball, track) who placed in the top 10 last year in the (Class AAA state) decathlon, and he's going to get a whole lot quicker."
And Gibson did his part on both sides of the ball.
"No, I'm not surprised that he volunteered to play defense. That's the kind of kid he is. He's a competitor," Ryan said. "It wasn't just the two picks with athleticism. He came up and made 12 tackles. He's an IQ-kid football-wise; a gamer. He even went on the kickoff team the last two kickoffs because we didn't want them to get a kickoff return."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him on Twitter @wardgossett.