Cleveland Defeats Walker Valley Behind Offensive, Defensive Efforts

Blue Raiders Hand Mustangs Third Loss In A Row, 34-3

  • Saturday, September 24, 2022
  • Richard Roberts
Cleveland's DJ Adams (6) breaks up a pass to Walker Valley receiver Tucker Ownby in the end zone Friday at Walker Valley. The Blue Raiders defeated the Mustangs, 34-3.
Cleveland's DJ Adams (6) breaks up a pass to Walker Valley receiver Tucker Ownby in the end zone Friday at Walker Valley. The Blue Raiders defeated the Mustangs, 34-3.
photo by Lynnae Roberts

Rodney Broadnax returned the opening kick 83 yards for a touchdown to give Cleveland all the points it needed Friday night against Walker Valley. The Blue Raiders tacked on 31 more for good measure while holding the Mustangs to only a field goal in a 34-3 victory.


The non-region win over the Mustangs was the third of the season for the Raiders who are now 3-3 on the year.

The loss was the third in a row for the 2-4 Mustangs.


“It was huge,” Blue Raiders coach Marty Wheeler said of the Broadnax return. “We've been close a few times this year to breaking one. It lined up really good for us. He hit it. The thing about Rodney is, he's gaining ground pretty quick as long as he is. Sometimes it don't look like it, but once he broke it they aren't going to catch him. It was huge. It set the tone for us and really picked our confidence level up.”


Defensively, the Raider gave up just 164 total yards to the Mustangs allowing just 36 yards on the ground and 128 through the air.


“I don't know what happened last week (in Cleveland's loss to Farragut). We were out there, but we weren't making plays,” Wheeler said of his secondary. “Tonight we played like we're supposed to in the secondary. I saw guys make breaks on the ball and make breakups at the last second. They (Walker Valley) have good concepts in the passing game. I'm very pleased the way we played in the back end on defense. We've played pretty solid up front all year.”


Blue Raiders' quarterback Drew Lambert threw 36 times for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The senior QB found DJ Adams for a 60-yard score in the first quarter to up the lead to 14-0 and hooked up with Mycah Jordan for 22 yards in the second quarter that gave Cleveland a 20-0 lead.


The Mustangs' only points came on an Eli Wilson field goal from 33 yards out as time expired in the first half.


“We did not prepare our guys to make the plays that needed to be made. They were there. The plays were there. (Quarterback) Evan (Schwarzl) did exactly what leaders do. He stood in that huddle (after the game) and took full ownership of what happened and that's what leaders do. I truly believe our team, because of that, will rally behind him. I think our team will rally behind him. I think our team will rally together,” said Mustangs head coach Drew Akins afterward. “We've got two big ones the next two weeks. In the end we've got to turn the page on this one. We've got two big ones the next two weeks. In the end we've got to turn the page on this one, we've got two big ones. Evan has to play better. He knows he has to play better. The fact he's a big enough leader to stand in that huddle and say, 'Hey, that's on me' tells you what kind of character that kid has.”


Schwarzl hit on just 10 of 30 passes on the night.


Starting the game out the way we started it, we gave them all the momentum. We even kicked specifically to not give them that momentum. The kick didn't go exactly where we hoped it would go and because of that we didn't leverage it correctly,” Akins stated. “They were pretty dominant on the D-line until their defensive ends went out, but by that time it was kind of out of hand and we had to try and change our game plan away from what we wanted to do in the run game.”


Cleveland added a pair of TDs in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard Lambert scramble and a 2-yard Isaiah Davis plunge.


“We played a good football team last week, but we didn't come to play. Our energy tonight was totally different. I know it has a lot to do with it a being a county rivalry, but still I don't care who we are playing I expect to play with this energy all the time,” said Wheeler. “I think it showed tonight when we do bring that energy and play with passion and a purpose we're not a bad football team.”


The Blue Raiders will be at home next week as they host perennial power Maryville in a crucial region matchup. The Mustangs will also jump back into the region fray on the road at Rhea County.


“We definitely left some things on the table. I'm not sure they weren't the dominant team, but there were things that were definitely there that we didn't take advantage of. We're going to go watch the film and we're going to have some open receivers throughout the night that we just don't hit. When you do that you get off the field really quick with very little time off the clock. We've just got to do a better job of preparing Evan for those things. I fully believe in that kid. I fully believe in our quarterback and I believe our kids will rally behind him. He knows he has to play better,” said Akins.


“We've got to play better up front. There's a lot of places we've got to play better. The message at the is is, we've got to go do something different. We can't keep doing the same thing. We had a great week of practice. We can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Right now we've got to be willing to do something different as a football team to go get the result we want.”



Cleveland            14   6   0   14 — 34

Walker Valley        0   3   0     0 —  3

First Quarter 

C — Rodney Broadnax 83 kick return (Bennett Smith kick), 11:48

C — DJ Adams 60 pass from Drew Lambert (Smith kick), 2:57

Second Quarter 

C — Mycah Jordan 22 pass from Lambert (PAT failed), 9:40

WV — Eli Wilson 33 field goal, 0:00

Fourth Quarter 

C — Lambert 9 run (Smith kick), 9:18

C — Isaiah Davis 2 run (Smith kick), 4:04

CLE           STATS                  WV

20              First downs           9

36-188       Rushes-Yards       24-36

128            Passing                128

368            Total yards           164

9-15-0        Att-Comp-Int        10-30-0

9-69           Penalties-Yards    5-30

5-34.8       Punts-Avg             10-37

0-0            Fumbles-Lost        0-0

Individual Stats:

Rushing: Davis 16-85 TD, Lucas Szymborski 6-36, Lambert 12-54 TD (C); Eli Denton 6-13, Evan Schwarzl 12-15(WV).

Passing: Lambert 9-15-128 2 TD (C); Schwarzl 10-30-128 (WV).

Receiving: Broadnax 2-18, Jordan 4-54 TD, Adams 3-103 TD (C); Tucker Ownby 4-58, Brady Montgomery 2-39, Blaine Lowe 3-30 (WV).

Records: Cleveland 3-3; Walker Valley 2-4.

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