Game: St. Francis (2-2, 1-1) at Walker (2-2, 1-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: St. Francis 35, Walker 7
All-time series: Walker leads 3-2
Prediction: Walker 20, St. Francis 18
Walker had one of its better defensive games a week ago and wouldn’t mind having strong showing on defense when its Region 6A rival St. Francis visits tonight.
Both teams have identical overall and region records, so a win for Walker is key.
The Wolverines got off to a fast start last week against Pinecrest and played stout defense in the second half to come away with a 28-7 win to snap a two-game losing streak.
Keon Smart secured the win with a 50-yard interception return. The Wolverines also stopped Pinecrest twice inside Walker territory during the second half.
“I was proud of our secondary and the way that Jake Tasman, Omar Cooper and Keon Smart played,” Walker coach Matt Casper said.”Those guys on the back end did a great job for us. I’m proud of the way our defense played as a whole.”
Defensively, Walker will have to key in on the run to have success against St. Francis with Kylen Smith being is primary focus. Smith rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries for the Knights last week in their overtime loss to Whitefield.
“They are big, strong, physical and fast,” Casper said. “It will be a challenge for us offensively and defensively to block and tackle them. We’re doing our best to prepare our kids.”
Despite having to replace its quarterback and top receiver from last season, Walker has much of the team intact, and it appears its mentality has improved. Last year’s 1-9 record had a lot to do with not being able to win the close games.
The mental game was what the Wolverines keyed in on during the offseason and the improvements have already shown, having closed out wins over Athens Christian and Pinecrest
“This year, our intention as a coaching staff was to create a mentality that you are not coming off the field,” Casper said. “That’s how you got to practice and train. We’ve been able to close out games as of late, but we still have a long way to go.”