“They told me they wanted to get back to football and finish as region champions,” Brunner said.
Eight weeks later, those seniors made that goal a reality finishing off a perfect 7-0 region mark with a 27-7 victory over the Springville Tigers Friday night.
Walker was placed on restrictive probation following an on-the-field altercation between coaches after the season opener against Cullman. Walker coach John Holladay resigned the following day.
“The team met that Sunday (after the Cullman game) and we set a goal that day. We haven’t let anything — past or present — get in our way,” Brunner said. “We finished 7-0. I just can’t say enough about our seniors. They’ve shown great leadership for the younger guys.”
Walker, which also finished 7-0 en route to a region championship last season, has won 18 straight region contests dating back to 2011.
The defense led the Vikings on Friday, recording three interceptions, including a pick-six by John Michael Reed that gave Walker the lead for good early in the third quarter. Reed had two interceptions. Austin Mansell led the defense with 15 tackles and also scored his first career touchdown on offense.
“The defense has set the tone for us all year. That pick-six set the tone in the second half,” Brunner said.
Walker got off to a sluggish start against Springville. An interception gave the Tigers a short field and led to the first score of the game. Matt Davis scored on a 17-yard run to put the Tigers up 7-0.
The Vikings (7-2, 7-0) tied the game in the second quarter when Bryant Atkins hit Marlon Oliver for a 43-yard touchdown pass. Ran Crump’s extra point made the score 7-7.
Walker took control of the game in the third quarter.
Reed stepped in front of a Springville pass and went 42 yards untouched to put the Vikings up 14-7 with 10:30 left in the third quarter. Walker added to its lead on the following drive when Atkins put the Vikings in business at the 15-yard line after a 45-yard run.
Three plays later, Joe Bell scored on a 3-yard run for a 21-7 lead.
Walker’s final score came on Mansell’s 2-yard run in the fourth quarter for a 27-7 lead.
Atkins finished 5-of-12 for 87 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Oliver had 116 yards of offense, rushing 14 times for 57 yards and hauling in three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Bell rushed 11 times for 40 yards and a touchdown while Atkins picked up 50 yards on five carries.
On defense, Jaiquan Crook had 11 tackles, including a sack, Walker Williams had nine tackles, Alex Medina added eight tackles and Sawyer Smith had seven tackles.
Walker closes the season against Hueytown next Friday. The game was originally scheduled for Halloween night.