Walker Valley will play host to McMinn County’s junior varsity Cherokee’s Monday evening at 7.
After turning the ball over on downs, Bradley Central sophomore Tyler Carpenter intercepted a Hayden Spencer pass less than two minutes into the game. Taking over on the Mustangs’ 41-yard line, Bears’ quarterback Cole Copeland needed only two plays to find sophomore Swan Parker for a 48-yard touchdown strike with 5:16 on the clock. Following the extra point by Logan Snyder, Bradley jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Walker Valley’s second drive was cut short when Bradley’s Jacob Williams jumped on a Mustang fumble. The miscue turned out to be for naught as the Stallions’ defense stepped up to keep the young Bears out of the end zone. Walker Valley’s Mason Oran more than made up for the earlier turnover by hitting pay dirt from 74 yards out with 1:26 left in the first frame. WV kicker David Thompson knotted up the score at 7-7 with the extra point.
Moving all the way to the 4:20 mark of the second quarter, Oran lost the handle on the ball for the second time in the game and Bradley’s Canaan Bennett pounced on the ball at his own 38-yard line.
Copeland again orchestrated a long drive, taking the ball all the way to the 2-yard line. With just 14 seconds left in the half, the freshman signal caller pushed the ball across the goal line for the Bears’ second score of the game. After another Snyder extra point, Bradley found itself up 14-7 at intermission.
The third quarter proved to be a defensive struggle both ways. Walker Valley did move the ball downfield with just over three minutes to go in the quarter, but Bradley’s Miller Clark picked off Spencer in the end zone to squash the drive.
The final frame started out with a pair of three-and-outs before Bryce Nunnelly made it a one-point game on his 1-yard touchdown run. This time, Spencer found Oran in the corner of the end zone to convert a two-point conversion to give the Mustangs their first lead of the game 15-14 with 5:30 left to play.
The young Bears squad seemed unfazed by the sudden deficit as they moved down the field on the ensuing drive. Following a 30-yard pass from Copeland to sophomore Ryan Still, the Bears’ freshman quarterback was called on again, scoring on a one-yard run this time to move the score back in Bradley’s favor, 20-15. The Bears decided this time to go for two when Copeland scrambled left but was unable to convert with just 2:01 left in the game.
Spencer got the chance to live out every kid’s dream, taking over with just under two minutes left at his own 27-yard line.
Following a couple of short runs, the Mustangs’ drive was aided by a pass interference call that moved the ball down to the Bradley 38-yard line with 1:21 left on the clock. Oran again made up for the earlier hiccup by covering the final 38 yards to the end zone, giving his Mustangs a 21-20 lead. Walker Valley again chose to go for two, this time with Alex King carrying the rock across the goal line for a 23-20 lead and leaving just 36 seconds for Bradley Central to work with.
Bradley used a couple of quick sideline passes to move the ball and kill the clock. With the ball around midfield and 12 seconds on the clock, Copeland dropped back and threw a lateral to Carpenter, who then focused downfield looking for fellow sophomore Trevon Ware. A herd of Mustangs stampeded to the ball and Cooper Melton picked the ball out of the air to seal the victory for the visiting team.