By Erik Harris
JASPER — Pinson Valley head coach Matt Glover unleashed his very own version of Jason Voorhees on this Friday the 13th and aimed him — running back Nick Gibson — right at Walker’s defense.
Unfortunately for Glover, the Viking defense responded nothing like the Camp Crystal Lake counselors did some 34 years ago. They didn’t run and they certainly didn’t hide from the Indians’ offense, which they shut out on their way to a 17-7 win at home.
“Offensively, we just never could get nothing going,” said Glover. “They did a good job of scheming us up.”
The Region 6 loss brings Pinson Valley’s record to 2-1 overall, 1-1 in region play. Walker improves to 2-1, 2-0. The Vikings are not eligible for postseason play this season after their postgame brawl with Cullman on Aug. 30.
The Indians’ only score of the night came courtesy of junior Juray Smith, who took the second-half kickoff 80 yards to the end zone. That was the first sign of offensive life shown by the visitors, who trailed 10-7 after the extra point.
Glover’s offense only moved the sticks twice in the first half. The Indians went three-and-out on their first three possessions and punted the ball four out of their five times with the rock.
“We never really established anything offensively, we couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t throw the ball,” said a disappointed Glover. “This is a team loss. It all goes back to me and we’ll get it fixed.”
Smith’s touchdown gave Pinson Valley a much-needed shot of energy that resulted in better offensive production in the second half.
The Indians enjoyed three possessions in the final two quarters of play. Each ran up a double-digit snap count, ate away at the clock and moved the chains. However, none resulted in any points.
Two of the drives were turned over on downs and the other ended with a Brooks Garrett 21-yard field goal that sailed wide left to start the fourth
After the miss, Walker navigated an eight-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Marlon Oliver’s 13-yard touchdown run that gave the Vikings a permanent 17-7 advantage with only a few minutes remaining.
The backbreaking drive never saw a pass play, milked much of the fourth quarter clock and ended Pinson Valley’s hopes.
Walker’s defense had the Indians’ number all night. After Gibson’s record-breaking performance last week against Mortimer Jordan, the Vikings knew that containing him was No. 1 on their to-do list.
Walker’s defensive front played a great game. They consistently got penetration, which forced the ever-dangerous Gibson to make his first cut a couple of yards behind the line of scrimmage.
By somewhat neutralizing Gibson, they put the pressure on quarterback Garrett and the passing game, which was unable to deliver.
“Their defense was great,” said Garrett. “They flew to the ball, but we made too many mistakes that cost us in the end.”
Garrett did complete 16 passes, but only one of them went for more than 10 yards.
This lack of offensive identity put Garrett in several third-and-long situations. The Indians converted on just three of their 16 third downs.
Gibson still had his moments. He totaled 130 yards from scrimmage and averaged 5.4 yards per carry, but was unable to find paydirt.
“I went out there and gave it all I’ve got and my linemen gave it all they got, but sometimes you just can’t score touchdowns,” said Gibson. “You just have to go hard on every play.”
On the other side, Oliver managed to find the end zone twice. His first visit came early in the second quarter on a 2-yard blast up the middle to draw first blood and give his team a 7-0 lead.
Walker ended the first half with a Ran Crump 25-yard field goal that gave the Vikings a 10-0 cushion at the break. That’s all they would need.
Pinson Valley will look to get its offense back on track next week when Hayden visits for another region matchup. The Vikings will also be in region play as they travel to Curry.
“We’re going to go to film on Sunday, learn from our mistakes and then it’s on to Hayden,” said Garrett.