The Vikings closed out a trying week with the best way possible on Friday — a win.
Led by the running back duo of Marlon Oliver and Joe Bell, Walker opened the coach Heath Brunner era with a 27-12 victory at Moody in the region opener for both teams.
The game came one week after former Walker coach John Holladay was involved in a fight with a Cullman assistant coach on the field after the Bearcats’ 13-10 victory.
Holladay resigned from his post on Tuesday and the AHSAA banned Walker from the playoffs on Thursday.
“I challenged our 17 seniors to lead this team and that’s what they did,” said Brunner, who was named Walker’s interim coach on Tuesday.
“I’m proud of these kids. They’ve shown nothing but great class in preparation this week. I knew (Thursday) with the ruling coming down that took a little bit out of us, but these kids are resilient.”
Walker (1-1 overall, 1-0 in 5A, Region 6 play), built a 17-0 lead and never let Moody within striking distance.
Bell opened the scoring on a 7-yard touchdown run with 3:37 left in the opening quarter. Ran Crump added the extra point for a 7-0 lead. In the second quarter, Walker turned a Moody fumble into points when Crump made a 40-yard field goal.
Walker led 10-0 at the half.
To open the third quarter, Moody fumbled the ball away on the kick off, setting the Vikings up at the 15-yard line. Bell went in from 15 yards out on the next play for a 17-0 lead at the 11:22 mark.
Moody struck back quickly, going into the end zone from 62 yards out to cut the gap to 17-6 at the 11-minute mark of the third quarter.
Walker quarterback Bryant Atkins scoring on a 1-yard sneak with 4:41 left in the third quarter to push the lead back to 24-6.
Crump added a 30-yard field goal with 9:37 left in the game and Moody concluded the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown pass with 7:54 remaining.
Walker’s Oliver finished the game with 23 carries for 167 yards while Bell rushed 18 times for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Atkins rushed five times for 13 yards and completed 7-of-16 passes for 28 yards.
Defensively, Austin Mansell had 10 tackles, Alex Medina added eight tackles and both Quay Harris and John Michael Reed recovered fumbles.
Next up for Walker is a region game at home against Pinson Valley.