The Vikings are region champions for the first time in school history.
Walker saved its best performance for its biggest game of the year, routing Mortimer Jordan 38-6 in dominating fashion at Ki-Ro Gambrell Field Friday night to claim the 5A, Region 6 title.
“Region champs! This is awesome,” Walker coach John Holladay said. “I’m so proud of the seniors. This is great for them.”
The Vikings had finished as region runner up a total of six times since the region format was adopted by the AHSAA in 2000.
Not this time.
Walker picked up chunks of yardage on the ground and got a balanced offensive attack thanks to the work of quarterback Bryant Atkins, who picked apart the Mortimer Jordan defense.
Walker scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns to build a lead. The Vikings put the game away with two more scores in the third quarter.
The defense was just as dominant, holding Mortimer Jordan’s potent passing attack to just 67 yards. The Blue Devils totaled 171 yards on the night.
“This was a big for our program. This was a complete win. We did well on offense, defense...everything. It’s big because the Cullman and Russellville games were tough and we had a couple of region games that were frustrating. This one was nice. We needed this. We needed a good win,” Holladay added.
“We are ecstatic to win the region,” Walker senior Jeb Cowen said. “We have had a lot of great teams in the past and this is the team that did it. The seniors had been saying, ‘Let’s play for another home game,’ because if we lost, we may not get a home playoff game. Everybody played well tonight. We got it done.”
Walker (6-2 overall, 6-0 in region play) struck first against Mortimer Jordan.
The drive started after Blake Moore recovered a fumble at the Mortimer Jordan 29-yard line. Michael Bridges and Tyler Phillips marched the ball down the field with Phillips going in from six yards out at the 6:29 mark of the first quarter. Joseph Pedraza’s extra point put the Vikings up 7-0.
Walker’s next possession also ended in the end zone.
This time, Atkins connected with Quadrekas Key on a 31-yard touchdown with 2:12 left in the quarter for a 14-0 lead.
Mortimer Jordan (5-3, 4-2) cut the lead to 14-6 with 1:46 remaining in the half when Deandres Merriweather went into the end zone from one yard out. The Blue Devils botched the snap on the extra point.
Walker put together one last drive to end the half. The Vikings got as close as the 2-yard line before settling on a Pedraza 19-yard field goal for a 17-6 lead going into the lockerroom.
The Vikings put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Walker needed two plays to score on its first possession. Phillips rumbled 40 yards on the first play of the drive and scored on a 2-yard run on the following play for a 24-6 lead. The Vikings pushed their lead to 31-6 on their next drive when Bridges went into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.
Joe Bell scored Walker’s final touchdown on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Mortimer Jordan was held in check in the second half. The Blue Devils had just two first downs and 65 total yards over the final two quarters.
Jameson Lane added an interception in the final quarter for Walker. It was the first pick thrown by Mortimer Jordan quarterback Devlin Hodges this season.
Defensively, Austin Mansell had 10 tackles for Walker while Moore had seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Jaiquan Crook added six tackles.
Bridges and Phillips combined for 160 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Bridges had 80 yards and a score on 16 carries while Phillips had 80 yards and two scores on 10 attempts.
Atkins, getting his second varsity start, completed 14 of 18 passes for 145 yards and a score. Key led the receivers with five catches for 61 yards and a score. Phillips had two catches for 33 yards.
Mortimer Jordan’s Hodges, who was averaging 171 passing yards a game coming into the contest, completed 8 of 19 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Landon Smith led the Blue Devils’ ground attack, picking up 73 yards on eight carries.
The win snapped Mortimer Jordan’s five-game winning streak and closed out Walker’s home schedule.
“This means a lot to us,” Bridges said. “This was our last (regular season) home game. This was a good way to end it.”
Though Walker had never won a region title, the Vikings picked up area titles from 1997-99.
Walker finishes up region play at Springville next week before closing the season at Hueytown on Thursday, Nov. 1.