The Golden Tigers broke a scoreless tie with 17 points in the second quarter and the Russellville defense did the rest in a 20-14 victory over the Vikings at Tiger Stadium.
Walker, which dominated its previous three region opponents, winning by an average of 27.3 points per game, couldn’t get its offense going against the Russellville defense. The Vikings had trouble holding onto the ball Friday night, fumbling twice and throwing a pair of interceptions.
Walker (3-2) trailed 17-2 at the half after a costly interception led to a touchdown in the closing seconds of the second quarter. Russellville held a commanding lead despite gaining just 85 yards of offense in the first half.
The Vikings didn’t back down. Down 20-2 in the third quarter, Walker cut the gap to 20-8 late in the quarter, but didn’t strike again until the closing seconds of the game.
Russellville sealed the game after recovering an onside kick with 40 seconds left on the clock.
The Golden Tigers (3-2) got on the board at the 11:06 mark of the second quarter on a Clayton McNatt 32-yard field goal. After a Walker fumble, Russellville took advantage of a short field and got into the end zone when Zack Garrison connected with Austin Bohanon on a 17-yard touchdown strike at the 4:43 mark for a 10-0 lead.
Walker got its only points of the first half when Garrison was taken down by a host of Viking defenders in the end zone to make the score 10-2 with 2:03 left. The Vikings got the free kick close to midfield, but that’s when disaster struck.
Bryant Atkins was picked off on the ensuing play with Russellville’s defender returning the ball to the Walker 14-yard line. Four plays later, Garrison went in from one yard out to make the score 17-2 with just 36 seconds left in the half.
Walker was unable to make up the deficit despite putting together drives deep into Russellville territory in the second half.
Russellville padded its lead midway through the third quarter with a 43-yard field goal from McNatt.
The Vikings’ first touchdown came on a 33-yard pass from Atkins to Kevin Clay late in the third quarter. Walker’s 2-point try failed making the score 20-8. Walker had its chances late in the game, but Atkins’ pass was tipped and picked off by a Russellville defender with 3:04 left in the contest. The Vikings final score came on a 1-yard sneak by Atkins with 47 seconds left.
For Walker, Atkins was 15-of-26 passing for 169 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Clay hauled in three passes for 70 yards and a score while Marlon Oliver caught three passes for 16 yards.
Oliver also rushed 15 times for 78 yards. Atkins rushed for 15 yards.
Defensively, Austin Mansell had 11 tackles, Jaiquan Crook had 10 tackles, including two sacks, and Walker Williams had six. Garrett Davenport recovered a fumble for the Vikings.
Walker looks to get back on track with a region game at Hayden (0-5) next week.