Walker Valley eyes program history with new QB, offensive threats
BRADLEY COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — From 55-point shut outs, to shocking upsets, Walker Valley impressed last season — to say the least. Now the Mustangs aim for a school first: two straight winning seasons. The ‘Stangs roster isn’t lacking determination or talent either.
“We’ve built a year. Now we need to build a program,” Coach Drew Akins said.
Walker Valley went into the 2020 season confident and came out conquerors. The seven-win season tied for the program’s best. This year, the goal is to keep that success rolling.
“One of our goals this year is to have two winning seasons in a row,” senior running back Spencer Jackson said. “At Walker Valley we’ve never done that, we’ve never had two winning seasons in a row, so I think that’s pretty big motivation just to do something no one else has done.”
Senior quarterback Ryan Lay will take charge as he moves to the opposite side of the field he’s used to.
“I played a lot of safety last year so I’ve already got that Friday night feel,” Lay said. “I got a lot of snaps in practice. Tucker was a really good teacher to me.”
“I’ll tell you what, he’s got probably the best arm I’ve had since the quarterback at Ooltewah with Brody Bender. He was a special arm talent. Ryan has a special arm talent, and his might be the best I’ve seen,” said Akins, who also serves as Walker Valley’s quarterback coach. “Then you add in his running ability. He’s a legit 4.6 [sec 40-yard dash] kid who can pull the ball and really make some damage running the ball.”
The Mustangs multiply their receiving talent as well.
“We relied on Brody Swafford a lot. He was our go-to guy and any time we needed to make a play. And we had Daniel Denton over there too, and those were our two playmakers. But this year, I’d say we have six guys that can make plays,” senior receiver Kade Tjaarda said.
“We just have athletes all over the field. That’s exciting to be able to throw the ball to four or five different guys and to be explosive at all four of those guys is a really special thing that we haven’t had here,” Akins said.
“I think no one really thinks we’re going to be that special, but I think we’re going to shock a lot of people,” Jackson said.