The defense came through, forcing a fumble to end one threat and recording a fourth-down sack to close the game as the Vikings picked up a hard-fought 24-20 road win over the Tigers.
Walker (7-2 overall, 7-0 in 5A, Region 6), closes out the regular season at Hueytown on Thursday. The region champion Vikings host a first-round playoff game in two weeks.
Against Springville, Walker linebacker Austin Mansell led the defensive unit, registering 16 tackles, two sacks and five tackles for loss.
With Walker holding a slim, fourth-quarter edge, Springville seemed poised to take the lead, driving to the Walker 15-yard line after runs of 40 and 25 yards. On the next play, Springville playmaker Zachary Mayo fumbled the ball with Walker’s Cody Brown recovering.
Walker’s ensuing drive took more than seven minutes off the clock, but ended with a missed field goal, giving Springville one last chance. The Tigers got as far as the Walker 49-yard line in the closing seconds, but Jaiquan Crook sacked quarterback Jackson Findlay on fourth down to secure the Vikings’ victory.
Friday’s game featured four lead changes.
The Vikings held a 17-13 halftime lead, but Springville responded with an 80-yard, four-play touchdown drive that ended on Mayo’s 19-yard touchdown run for a 20-17 lead.
Walker ran the ball on the next seven plays down to the Springville 26 yard line, setting up Bryant Atkins’ touchdown strike to Quadrekas Key for what proved to be the winning score.
Walker totaled 345 yards in the game with the bulk of it (269 yards) coming on the ground. Michael Bridges led the team with 169 yards on 26 carries.
Tyler Phillips and Kevin Clay both added rushing touchdowns.
The teams traded scores throughout with neither team leading by more than four points.
Springville struck first on a Mayo touchdown for a 7-0 lead. Walker countered with Clay’s rushing touchdown. Joseph Pedraza’s extra point notched the score at 7-7 after one quarter of play.
Findlay added a rushing score for a 13-7 Springville lead early in the second quarter. Yet again Walker had an answer, turning to Phillips for a short touchdown run for a 14-13 lead.
Pedraza added a 38-yard field goal in the final minute of the second quarter for a 17-13 halftime lead.
With the win, Walker closed out Class 5A, Region 6 play with a perfect 7-0 record.
For the Vikings, Phillips had 71 yards on 18 carries, Clay added 40 yards on four carries. Atkins completed 9-of-16 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, Key had seven receptions for 61 yards.
The team played the game without second-leading tackler Blake Moore.
Springville (2-7, 2-5) dropped their third straight game and sixth in their last seven games. For the Tigers, Mayo led the way, rushing 17 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Findlay added seven rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 5 of 11 passes for 38 yards in the game.
Walker outgained Springville in total yardage 345-266.