In a highly-anticipated, televised rivalry matchup, Walker fell 17-14 to the Cullman Bearcats.
Cullman senior kicker Collin Glasscock sealed the victory for the Bearcats, nailing a 32-yard field as time expired, to avoid overtime, remain undefeated and avenge last season’s loss.
With the win, the Bearcats improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Class 5A, Region 6 standings.
Playing its second game in six days, Walker dropped to 1-2, 1-1.
With less than a minute remaining, the Vikings were forced to punt out of their own end zone.
Cullman took over at the Vikings’ 40-yard line with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
With just eight seconds remaining in the contest, Walker was hit with a questionable pass interference call, bringing the Bearcats within field goal range and setting Cullman up with a 1st-and-10 at the Vikings’ 15-yard line.
Glasscock then lined up from the right hash mark and sealed the win.
“We stayed with our game plan and managed to get the win,” said Cullman head coach Mark Britton (107-49). “The offensive line took charge and the defense played great all night. Hats off to Walker, though. This was a slugfest.”
Walker finished with 218 total yards, 176 of which came through the air, and ran for just 42 yards on 36 carries, including 16 runs for just nine yards by halftime.
Walker quarterback Carson Roberts went 13-of-21 for 176 yards and two touchdowns while Dashuan Kendrick reeled in seven catches for 131 yards and both Viking touchdowns. Trent Purifoy had three receptions for 25 yards for the Vikings, who managed just nine first downs.
Walker linebacker Jonathan Piteo had another strong defensive performance, finishing with 15 tackles and bringing his total to 36 on the year. Eric Vinson added an interception for Walker.
Cullman managed 383 yards, 202 passing, and had 15 first downs.
The Bearcats ran for 181 yards. Bearcats quarterback Zachary Crocker finished 18-of-22 for 202 yards while Garrett Crider ran for 109 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
After a scoreless first half, Cullman took the game’s first lead when Wesley Hendrix scored on a 14-yard run with 5:01 left in the third quarter, capping a three-play, 30-yard drive, and after Glasscock’s extra point, the Bearcats led 7-0.
The Vikings tied the game early in the fourth quarter when Roberts hit Kendrick on an 18-yard touchdown pass. After Gunter Wisdom’s extra point, the score was knotted at 7-7 with 11:15 left in the game.
Cullman answered with a six-play, 79-yard drive, finished off by Crider’s seven-yard touchdown run for a 14-7 advantage at the fourth-quarter’s 7:43 mark.
Just over a minute later, Roberts hit Kendrick with a 39-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 14-14 with 5:31 remaining.
The Vikings suffered their first region home loss since 2007 and are now 33-31-2 all time against Cullman.
Head coach John Holladay moved to 39-12 in his sixth year at Walker and 117-59 overall in 15 years.
The Vikings travel to Hartselle next week for another 5A, Region 6 showdown with the 3rd-ranked Tigers (2-0). Cullman hosts West Point in a region battle next week.