Instead, it was more of the same.
Cullman quarterback Zac Crocker was near perfect on the night and the Vikings had trouble picking up any yardage as the Bearcats ended Walker’s season with a thud, winning 30-0 at Walker’s Ki-Ro Gambrell Field.
After a scoreless first quarter, Cullman struck on its first drive of the second quarter and never looked back, beating the Vikings for the eighth time in their last nine meetings.
Cullman (10-2) advances to play McAdory (12-0) in the state quarterfinals next week.
Crocker completed 14 of his first 15 passes against Walker and finished the game 16 of 19 for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Troy Forrest and Houston Turner picked up the bulk of Cullman’s receiving yards.
“Zac has been completing about 70 percent of his passes this season,” Cullman coach Mark Britton said. “We felt we had a couple of mismatches. We have big receivers. They aren’t the break-away type, but they are high-percentage and possession receivers. They move the chains, and that was our goal tonight.”
Offensively, Walker got inside the Cullman 20-yard line only twice — both times in the fourth quarter. The Bearcats stopped the Vikings on fourth down both times.
Walker, which won its first ever region championship, closes the season at 8-4. The Vikings fell to Cullman 42-14 in the season opener. In that game, the teams were tied at 14-14 going into the final quarter.
On Friday, Cullman got on the scoreboard at the 10:47 mark of the second quarter when Garrett Crider broke through the line and went untouched 17 yards into the end zone. The extra point failed due to a bobbled snap as the Bearcats took a 6-0 lead.
It only got worse from there for the Vikings.
The Bearcats got their next touchdown on their final possession of the second quarter. Crocker hit tight end Troy Forrest for a key 31-yard pick up to put the Bearcats at the Walker 14-yard line.
Following a fourth-down conversion, Crocker hit Houston Turner for a 12-yard strike in the corner of the end zone for a 13-0 Cullman halftime lead.
Cullman seemed to feed off the momentum going into the second half. The team put together a 12-play, 79-yard drive to open the third quarter.
Drew Johnson broke free for a 25-yard run early in the drive, Crocker connected on a pair of 14-yard strikes and Jordan Martin finished it off with a 2-yard score for a 20-0 lead.
Christopher Grey added a 22-yard field goal with 3:53 left in the third quarter as Cullman took a 23-0 lead.
The last score came with 4:44 left in the game when Michael Skinner intercepted a Bryant Atkins pass and took it 40 yards for the score.
Tempers flared late in the game after Atkins was taken to the ground by a Cullman defender. Though players rushed on the field, no punches were thrown and no players were ejected. Walker was assessed a 15-yard penalty on the play.
Walker gained just 184 yards on the night. Tyler Phillips led the way with 79 yards on 19 carries. Michael Bridges added 42 yards on 12 carries while Atkins finished 6 of 12 passing for 76 yards. He also had two interceptions — both by Cullman’s Skinner.
The Vikings were called for nine penalties totalling 102 yards. The team also had a touchdown called back in the final moments.
The Vikings moved the ball in the opening quarter, recording four first downs on their second drive. Walker only had six first downs the rest of the game.
“I thought Walker had a good scheme on their first drive,” Britton said. “After that first drive we made adjustments and that allowed us to be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball.”