After Walker Valley’s first line ‘em up and tackle scrimmage of the season on Thursday, head coach Glen Ryan gave the Mustangs a B- for their effort against Hixson.
At the end of Friday’s four-way with Brainerd, Knox Catholic and Marion County, Ryan made clear to the Mustangs the need to finish what they started, and lowered Thursday’s grade one level after a disappointing end to the skirmish with Marion County.
“If you had asked me before this last one (with Marion County) I would have said about a B- again. But at the end we dropped down to about a C-. We did some good things early at times, then it was as the day wore on we got complacent and our play became complacent,” he said.
“We’ve just got to get tougher mentally and physically. We had some good moments and had some moments not so good.”
The Mustangs opened the three-hour evening against Brainerd High School and showed some strength on both sides of the ball. Walker Valley’s defense looked stout for the better part of the session giving up a lone touchdown and snagging an interception at the goal line.
Offensively, the Mustangs scored through the air from 31 on their second play from scrimmage and again before the end of the session.
“We looked pretty good early, but you’ve got to finish. That’s been a weakness. We started out the season pretty good the last two years, but we’ve got to finish the season,” said Ryan.
In the next session, the Mustangs faced off against the Irish of Knox Catholic and found the going much tougher. KC held Walker Valley to a quick three-and-out then scattered the Mustangs’ defense for an early TD. The Mustangs gave up a pair of scores to the Irish, but did manage to cross the goal line once before the horn.
“We knew coming in they were going to be the measuring stick of where we are. They came out and shell shocked us early, then we settled down and played pretty well with them,” said Ryan. “I felt after we got over the initial shock and settled down we played pretty good. I felt OK after that one was over, barring the first series or two.”
After an extended series of junior varsity sessions, the Mustangs first line got back to work against Marion County. The long evening and a pretty good Marion County football team, kept the Walker Valley trainers busy wrapping ankles and tending to a plethora of Mustangs’ injuries.
“It (injuries) always concerns us, because we don’t have a lot of depth in some areas, and where we do have some depth we’re dwindling down (because of injuries). We’ve got to find ways to keep our guys healthy. It seems like we get a rash of these things,” Ryan said of the banged and bruised Mustangs. “We’re going to have to go back and get some guys ready to go. We lost a couple this week, hopefully we didn’t lose anybody for any long period of time. It just means we’ve got to get some guys ready to go to take their spots. They are some good guys. They are going to be out at least a couple of weeks, that means somebody else is going to have to step in.”
After the final horn, Ryan said his Herd needs to continue to work for consistent play on both sides of the ball and step up the conditioning process physically and mentally.
“Against Marion I just don’t feel like we gave a good effort at all. I don’t care if it’s young kids or old kids, I just don’t feel like any of us played that good on either side of the ball. That goes back to we’ve got to finish. We were tired, I know it’s been a long day. It’s been a long week, but you’ve got to finish,” he said.
“There’s nothing that can’t be fixed. We’ve just got to go back to work. That’s why you do these things. You find out now, see where you are and go back to work on the weak areas. We’ve still got a couple of weeks before we play. Hopefully we can get some of those things fixed and get our guys healthy.”