Walker Valley wide receiver Brody Swafford (23) is upended at the East Hamilton 1-yard line after an 18-yard completion on a pass from quarterback Tyler Pope in the second quarter Friday, inside "The Corral." (Banner Photo: Lynnae Roberts)
Early in the third quarter, the Walker Valley Mustangs looked as though they were about to swing momentum to their side with an 80-yard drive after East Hamilton had taken a 21-7 lead to open the third quarter.
The Mustangs moved to the Hurricane's 1-yard line where Walker Valley's Daniel Denton leaped high into the air to grab what appeared to be a touchdown catch from quarterback Tyler Pope on fourth-and-1, that would have cut East Hamilton's lead to seven points.
But, Denton was ruled out of bounds and the pass incomplete. Momentum back to the Hurricanes (6-2), who added 21 more points against the deflated Mustangs (4-4) and walked away with a 38-7 win Friday night inside “The Corral.”
A disappointed Mustangs head coach Drew Akins said he was proud of the way Walker Valley continued to fight for points after the controversial call.
“We don't have give up in us anymore. That's not in our DNA anymore. The 'give up' is not something we do anymore, it's never going to be associated with our program anymore,” he said. “Something didn't go our way and it kind of broke our spirit a little, but we never quit. We are always going to fight. I would love to see us finish there at the end, but we're always going to continue to fight. We did that by continuing to drive and continuing to put points on the scoreboard.”
Griffin Broome scored the Mustang's only touchdown with a 1-yard drive capper with just over three minutes left in the first half that tied the game at 7-7.
The Hurricanes scored on their opening drive and took a 14-7 lead with 1:37 left in the second quarter. The 'Canes went up 21-7 on their first possession of the second half and added two more TDs and a field goal to nail down the win.
Mustangs running back Kole Hall had another outstanding night rushing for Walker Valley with 161 yards on 22 carries.
“Everything we want is still in front of us. Everything we set out to do is still in front of us. We are already in the playoffs, let's try to host a game. We still have that opportunity, that didn't go away. What this may do and what I hope it does and what we're going to do as a coaching staff is, we are going to let this teach us and we're going to come back better from it,” said Akins afterward.
“I hate it for our kids. I hate it that one play can change a game like that. All it is, is when things get taken away from you, you have to keep plugging along. Keep attacking, keep attacking and make good things happen for you. We will get there as a program. That's the next step in our progression. When things get taken away, you keep attacking. That's what we are going to preach to our kids. We can always make up for it and we will always continue to press forward. This team has no quit in it and we're not going to let them quit. They have no quit in them so we don't even have to fight that battle. It's just continuing to get better.”
East Hamilton 7 7 14 10 — 38
Walker Valley 0 7 0 0 — 7
EH — Conner Thornburg 80 pass from Haynes Eller (Alen Karajic kick), 7:08
WV — Griffin Broome 1 run (Charlie Swafford kick), 3:21
EH — Adam Caudle 1 run (Karajic kick), 1:37
EH — Cade Meeks 7 pass from Eller (Karajic kick), 10:03
EH — Kaunyae Burgans 7 pass from Eller (Karajic kick), 0:00
EH — Karajic 46 field goal, 9:20
EH — Caudle 1 run, Karajic kick), 6:02
First downs EH 19 WV 20
Rushes-Yards EH 25-256 WV 40-247
Passing EH 235 WV 104
Total yards EH 491 WV 351
Comp-Att-Int EH 17-28-0 WV 11-28-3
Punts-Avg EH 1-37 WV 3-34
Fumbles-Lost EH 0-0 WV 0-0
Penalties-Yards EH 13-135 WV 7-55
Thornburg 1 79
East Hamilton 6-2
Walker Valley 4-4.
Walker Valley's Daniel Denton (13) makes a catch in the end zone on a 2-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Pope in the third quarter against East Hamilton Friday, at Walker Valley. Denton was ruled out of bounds on the play. (Banner Photo: Lynnae Roberts)