So are most of the Vikings’ 2012 opponents.
This year’s Walker football schedule features six playoff teams from 2011, including three coming off school-record seasons (Hueytown, Center Point and Pinson Valley).
Walker faces a much different schedule despite staying in Class 5A, Region 6.
Defending state champion Hartselle, along with Cullman and West Point, made the move to Region 8 while Brewer went to Region 7.
New region opponents for Walker include: Moody, Pinson Valley, Center Point and Springville to go along with hold overs Curry, Hayden and Mortimer Jordan.
Walker took home third in the region last season, losing to Fort Payne in the opening round of the playoffs to close with a record of 6-5, the Vikings’ lowest win total in coach John Holladay’s five years at the school.
Walker opens the season against rival Cullman. The teams were in the same region each of the last eight years. This season, the game is a non-region contest at Cullman’s Oliver Woodard Stadium. The Vikings and Bearcats are meeting in the season opener for the first time since 1940. Cullman won last year’s game 17-14 with a field goal as time expired. The Bearcats have won six of the last seven meetings.
The rivalry has been evenly matched through 66 games with Walker holding a 33-31-2 all-time lead and Cullman outscoring the Vikings 1,044 to 1,018.
The following two weeks feature teams Walker has never faced.
Moody makes the trip to Ki-Ro Gambrell Field in Week 2. The Blue Devils (1-9) have struggled over the last two seasons, going 1-19. Moody brings a nine-game losing streak into the season.
Walker faces a region test in Week 3 with a trip to Pinson Valley. The Indians (9-3) set a school record for wins and a school record for points scored last year.
Pinson Valley also gave Hartselle its closest game of the season, losing 22-21 to the Tigers in the second round of the playoffs.
The Vikings host Curry in Week 4. Curry (5-6) is coming off its first playoff trip since 2002. The Yellow Jackets’ three region wins last year were also the most since 2002. Walker owns the series, winning 15 straight including a 33-6 win last year.
Walker plays Russellville for the third straight season in Week 5 when the Golden Tigers (5-6) make the trip to Jasper. After losing six straight games to Russellville, Walker has won two straight in the series. The Vikings won 32-17 on the road last season.
The Tigers had their first losing season since 1997 last year while snapping a stretch of 11 straight double-digit win seasons.
The Vikings dominate Week 6 opponent Hayden. The Wildcats (5-5) are 0-6 all time against Walker and have been outscored 261-31 in the series. Hayden makes the trip to Walker this season.
Walker travels three of the last four weeks.
The first trip is to Center Point (formerly Erwin) in Week 7. Center Point (11-2) set a school record for wins in a season last year. Walker played the Eagles every year from 2000 to 2009. The Vikings have won the last three meetings.
Walker hosts Mortimer Jordan (3-7) in Week 8 in the regular-season home finale. Walker has won five in a row against the Blue Devils, including a 45-20 road victory last year.
Springville is the destination in Week 9. The Tigers (5-5) are moving up to 5A after spending the last two years in 4A. Springville made the playoffs each of its last two years in 5A (2008-09), but went just 8-12 over the last two years.
Springville won the last meeting between the teams, 14-6 in 2009.
Walker closes the season against what promises to be one of its toughest opponents, Hueytown.
The Golden Gophers (13-1) set a school record for wins and points last year. They averaged a staggering 44.8 points per game.
Walker last played Hueytown in 2005, winning 26-14.