Mustangs Rally Runs Out Of Time Against Rhea

Walker Valley's Noah Duprey (1) catches a pass for a Mustand touchdown. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — What Rhea County coach Mark Pemberton called an "ugly win" Friday night might be a warning for the other three teams in Region 4-5A after three weeks.

 

Rhea's Eagles ran for 367 yards and played defense well enough to survive an aerial assault and fourth-quarter rally by resurgent Walker Valley to register a 27-21 win in the region opener for both teams. The 3-0 start is the best for Rhea County since 2014.

 

Jackson Langley ran for 202 yards and scored two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion while his partner in the backfield, Dalton Hampton, ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles.

 

On the other side of the ball, Walker Valley quarterback Tucker Pope came out of the dressing room throwing. The junior transfer from Bradley Central completed 27 of 37 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Walker Valley, which broke a 13-game losing streak by winning its first game of the year for new coach Drew Akins, fell to 1-2 overall. The game was played before an estimated crowd of 3,500.

 

"It was an ugly win," Pemberton said to this team, "but I don't care. A win is a win."

 

Langley has rushed for 505 yards and scored nine touchdowns in three games.

 

"This was a gut-out win," Langley said. "We came into this knowing it would be a tough game. We expected to do a little better than we did. It kind of got away from us at the end, but we found a way to battle back and win."

 

Rhea County led 12-7 at halftime and stretched the lead to 27-7 early in the third quarter. The Mustangs then scored 14 straight points, including an 81-yard pass from Pope to Brody Swafford with 2:05 left in the game. Swafford caught nine passes for 155 yards.

 

"They are doing a good job with Walker Valley," Pemberton said. "They are getting better, and they are going to get the program going in the right direction."

 

With only four teams in the region, both teams are assured of making the playoffs.

 

Contact Davis Lundy at sports@timesfreepress.com.

 

Walker Valley's Noah Duprey (1) finds the goalline, after a pass reception for a Mustang touchdown. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Walker Valley quarterback Tucker Pope (10) carries the ball close to the Rhea endzone. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Walker Valley head coach Drew Akins confers with Griffin Broome (2). The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Walker Valley's Kole Hall (3) breaks a long run and is tackled by Rhea County's Bradley Goodwin (40). The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Rhea County's Bradley Goodwin (40 tips a pass intended for Walker Valley's Noah Duprey (1). Dillion Reed (29) would catch the ball for a Golden Eagle interception. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Rhea County's Eli Johnson (33) makes a long run after a pass reception and is chased by a herd of Mustangs. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Rhea County's Jackson Langley (23) goes for yardage as he breaks the tackle of Walker Valley's Dyllan Jenkins (21). The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Dalton Hampton (21) scores Rhea County's first touchdown as he is hit by Walker Valley's Daniel Cartee (20). The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019.(Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

Rhea County's Jackson Langley (23) is tripped up by Walker Valley's Mikey Humphries (41. Tyler Neal (63) blocks on the play for Rhea County. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019 (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

A Walker Valley student loses his hat as he and other supporters lead the Mustangs onto the field. The Rhea County Golden Eagles visited the Walker Valley Mustangs in TSSAA football action on September 6, 2019. (Times Free Press Photo: Robin Rudd)

 

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