Trojans Turn Back Mustangs, Retain Region Title
Soddy-Daisy's offense answered the call again and again in its Region 4-5A football game against visiting Walker Valley, ultimately marching 99 yards for the winning score.
The 28-21 Friday night triumph brought the Trojans (6-4, 3-0) a second consecutive region title, while the Mustangs (4-6, 1-2) finished third.
"Grit," Soddy-Daisy coach Justin Barnes said to sum up the performance. "It was a big night for us, with a region title on the line and senior night."
Walker Valley turned in a gritty performance of its own, seizing the lead three times in trying to dash the hosts' title aspirations.
The Mustangs thrived on the ground behind running back Cole Hall and quarterback Tucker Pope, who also shone with his arm.
"We said we were going to get great at something this week, and that was power and counter," Walker Valley coach Drew Akins said. "I'm proud of our O-line. We were able to run right at them, and it gave us a chance to win."
A successful rushing attack set up a 4-yard first-quarter touchdown pass from Pope to Noah Duprey. Soddy-Daisy answered with an Isaac Barnes pass to Kesean Eubanks in the second quarter.
The teams again traded scores, starting with a 29-yard strike from Pope to Duprey before the Trojans tied it on a 1-yard plunge from Hayden Maynor with 2:31 left in the first half.
Griffin Broome's 1-yard run as time expired gave Walker Valley the halftime lead.
"This team has come a long way," Akins said. "We struggled with our mentality all year. We want them to keep fighting, keep moving forward. Tonight we did that."
The Mustangs had a chance to pull further ahead to start the third quarter, but Eubanks nabbed a timely interception. Again the Trojans' offense responded, and Maynor capped off the drive with a 12-yard run to help knot the score at 21-21 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.
"Our offense played well in the first half and kept us in the game," Barnes said. "I felt like we came out a little tight on the other side of the ball, but we made some adjustments on defense at halftime to slow the run and put them in some third-and-long situations."
Soddy-Daisy also cranked up its running game, and Maynor scored his third touchdown of the game to give the home team its first lead at 28-21 in the fourth quarter. It came on fourth down after the Trojans had trekked all the way from their own goal line.
The lead would hold, as the Mustangs had one last bid to win it, taking a final shot to the end zone. The turnover on downs punctuated a second-half shutout by Soddy-Daisy's defense.
Contact Idris Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.