Mustangs Lose Home Opener
Bradley Central junior Tray Curry (12) pulls in a catch over Walker Valley defender Skyy Craig (31) during Friday evening's "County Conflict" at The Corral. The 10th-ranked Bears broke the Mustangs by a 59-14 tally. (Photo: Greg Conway - Legendary Images)
Sibling rivalry provided a harsh lesson Friday evening as Bradley Central brought sky-high riding Walker Valley back down to earth.
Fresh off a huge season-opening victory, the Mustangs got tormented in their own Corral as their "Big brother" Bears exploded for a 59-14 "noogie," to once again dominate the "County Conflict."
All three local teams are now 1-1 on the campaign and will play at home this week as region play begins.
The Bears will welcome Heritage (0-2), while the Mustangs will tangle with unbeaten Rhea County (2-0).
Looking to bounce back from a tough loss to No. 7 Farragut the previous week, 10th-ranked Bradley wasted no time in setting the pace Friday evening in front of jam-pack crowd at the Corral.
After forcing the hosts three-and-out on the opening series, the Bear offense needed just two snaps to find the end zone as the "Burke Brothers" hooked up on a 12-yard pass from Javin to twin Javon just 71 seconds into the contest.
Walker Valley's second possession lasted just two plays as Bear sophomore safety Aiden McClary picked off Tucker Pope's fourth pass attempt.
Six plays later, Javin Burke hooked up with fellow junior Kanon Hall for a 41-yard scoring strike with less than three minutes ticked off the clock.
The visitors added another score before the midpoint of the opening quarter when junior Tray Curry found paydirt for the first time this season on a 12-yard run to cap the next Bear offensive series.
After turning the ball over on downs near the Red Zone on its next possession, Bradley added four scores in the final 8:08 of the first half.
Curry capped a six-play, 61-yard march when Javin Burke found him wide open in the end zone from 19 yards out.
The Bears got another quick chances when junior Braydon Clark stripped the ball loose and classmate Cody McDaniel pounced on it four plays after the ensuing kickoff, giving the Black-and-Gold possession just 38 yards from pay dirt.
Javin Burke went to senior receiver Saylor Clark twice in a row to cover the needed ground, the score coming on an eight-yard toss.
Walker Valley was able to avoid the shutout when junior Brody Swafford returned the kickoff to near midfield.
Three plays later Griffin Broome assumed the QB position and was able to break through for a 45-yard scoot for his fourth TD of the season.
The visitors made another trip to the Red Zone on the following drive, this time settling for a 33-yard field goal by senior Isaac Vaughn, who was also true on seven extra-point attempt.
"Isaac Vaughn is getting better and better. He's getting confident," remarked Bear head coach Damon Floyd. "When he first came out he was really nervous and we begged him to come out and help us.
"Now he's chomping at the bit to get out there. He's having fun doing it, not only with extra points, but he has hit two good field goals for us now."
On the second play after the ensuing kickoff, Braydon Clark picked off the second Bear interception of the night and returned it 60 yards to the Mustang 5. Senior Ricky McCleary did the honors on the following play, dancing into the end zone with 41 ticks left on the opening half clock.
"I got to give our offense a lot of credit," praised Coach Floyd. "Javin played really, really well. We didn't want to have to run him much tonight (after 15 carries for 165 yards last week). We've got to keep him healthy for down the road.
"With the defense they (WV) were giving us, we felt like there were some holes in it that we were able to get some guys in and make some plays.
"They were giving us some different looks, coverage wise and Javin did a good job of recognizing it and was able to get the ball to our receivers," he assessed.
"Our offensvie line did a good job of protecting Javin and opening holes for our runners."
With the Bears up 45-7 at the intermission, the second half was played with a "running clock," but the teams combined for three more scores.
Bradley opened the half with an eight-play scoring march with junior Riley Harmon doing the honors on a three-yard run.
"Riley Harmon ran really hard for us tonight," commented Floyd as the Baylor transfer broke off a 15-yard dash later in the game. "He'd be a starter for other teams, but we are so deep at that position with Ricky (McCleary), Javon (Burke) and Tray (Curry)."
The Bear B-teamers scored again on the other second half possession.
Backup QB McClary led the six-play, 72-yard march, taking the ball in on a three-yard plunge for the score with 8:14 left to go. Freshman kicker Ere Rojas split the uprights for the PAT.
"We got to play a lot of guys tonight. That's a good thing in a game like this," Floyd commented. "We went deep. Those guys work hard in practice and deserve some playing time, plus that will help us down the road.
"We'll play a JV game up here Monday, but it was good to get those guys some Friday night action."
Walker Valley finished off the contest with a 10-play drive with Groome finding the end zone again, this time from less than a yard out. Charlie Swafford booted the PAT to become the 10th-leading scorer in Mustang history.
After getting virtually shutout by Farragut last week, Curry had a big night for the Bears with 110 yards on eight touches with a pair of scores. The highly-recruited SEC and Power 5 2021 prospect pulled in a trio of passes for 62 yards, plus carried the ball five times for another 48.
"We wanted to be able to get the ball in Tray's hands more tonight," explained Floyd. "When he gets the ball in his hands he can do some big things with it. He made a couple of great catches tonight, going up high for balls."
Three-year starter Saylor Clark helped out with 85 yards and a score on seven catches, while Kanon Hall had a pair for 48 and a TD.
Javin Burke completed 15-of-20 passes for 240 yards and four TDs, plus gained nine yards on his only carry.
The "Black Hole Defense" held the Herd to 116 yards on 30 rushes, only three of which went for double-digit yardage.
Kole Hall was the WV workhorse with 56 yards on 16 tries, while Groome had 50 yards and his two scores on just four carries.
Pope, who had been the Bradley backup QB the past two seasons before transferring, was stifled by his former teammates, completing just 4-of-15 passes for 38 yards, plus he was picked off twice. Although he was able break free on a 27-yard run once, his rushing total was just seven yards on nine carries, as the Bears sacked him four times.
"We had a good game plan defensively and our guys executed it well tonight," proclaimed Floyd. "We read our keys and tackled a lot better this week. Our guys did a good job of disguising what we were doing and then getting to where the ball was at.
"Our secondary did a good job manning them up and shutting down the passing game."
New Walker Valley head coach Drew Akins knew facing Floyd's Bears would be a tough task for his young Colts.
"We knew this game was just a measuring stick for us of how far we have come and how far we have to go," he said Saturday.
"We still have a long way to go to compete at a high level. I was proud of our players for never losing composure and never quitting. Felt like our players showed a lot of class during and after the game.
"We will learn from last night and it will make us a better football team," he declared. "Now we know what the atmosphere feels like, what the emotion of the game feels like. Next time we will be more prepared and learn from it.
"We know as a team all of our goals are still ahead of us. Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us. I believe we will learn from this and improve."
Bradley-Walker Valley Game Summary Friday, Aug. 30
Bradley Central 21 24 7 7 — 59 Walker Valley 0 7 0 7 — 14
First Quarter BC — Javon Burke 12 -yd pass from Javin Burke (Isaac Vaughn kick), 10:49 BC — Kanon Hall 41-yd. pass from Javin Burke (Vaughn failed), 9:05 BC — Tray Curry 12-yd. run (Vaughn kick), 6:47
Second Quarter BC — Curry 19-yd pass from Javin Burke (Vaughn kick), 8:08 BC — Saylor Clark 8-yd. pass from Javin Burke (Vaughn kick), 5:54 WV — Griffin Broome 45-yd. run (Charlie Swafford kick), 4:12 BC — Vaughn 33-yd field goal, 1:10 BC — Ricky McCleary 5-yd. run (Vaughn kick), :41
Third Quarter BC — Riley Harmon 3-yd. run (Vaughn kick), 4:41
Fourth Quarter BC — Aiden McClary 3-yd. run (Ere Roja kick), 8:14 WV — Broome 1-yd. run (Swafford kick), :52
Game Stats First Downs BC 23 WV 8 Rushes-Yards BC 23-153 WV 30-116 Passing BC 257 WV 33 Total Yards BC 410 WV 149 Comp-Att-Int BC 16-21-0 WV 4-15-2 Punts-Avg. BC 0-0 WV 3-29.7 Fumbles-Lost BC 2-0 WV 3-2 Penalties-Yards BC 14-136 WV 10-133
Matt Tray Curry 5-48 TD
Ricky McCleary 7-38 TD
Javon Burke 5-24
Riley Harmon 2-18 TD
Carter Clayton 2-14
Javin Burke 1-9
A McClary 1-3 TD
Kole Hall 16-56
Griffin Broome 4-50 2 TDs
Tucker Pope 9-7
Heath Tanksley 1-3
Javin Burke 15-20-0 244 4 TDs
Aiden McClary 1-1 13 (BC)
Tucker Pope 3-15-2 38.
Saylor Clark 7-85 TD
Tray Curry 3-62 TD
Kanon Hall 2-48 TD
Ashton Boyd 1-22
Karter Howard 1-15
Destun Thomas 1-13
Javon Burke 1-12
Brody Swafford 2-12
Daniel Denton 1-14
Kole Hall 1-12.
Tucker Still 5 solos, 3 asts, 1 FR
Tucker Thompson 4 solos, 4 assists, 1 sack, 1 TFL
Cam Creighton 4 solos, 3 asts, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 FF
Kam Arrowood 2 solos, 4 asts
Cody McDaniel FR
Aiden McClary INT
Braydon Clark INT
Skyy Craig 10 solos, 3 l asts, TFL
Garrett Noble 3 solos, 11 asts
Eli Denton 4 solos, 3 asts
Lane Miller 4 solos, 2 asts
Kellar Carson 1 solo, 6 asts
Bradley Central 1-1
Walker Valley 1-1.
Bradley Central junior Javon Burke (1) breaks up a pass intended for Walker Valley senior Noah Duprey during Friday evening's "County Conflict" battles at The Corral. (Banner Photo: Kevin Cannon)