CHARLESTON, Tenn. — Walker Valley senior Evan Schwarzl, a dual-threat quarterback, was nearly perfect in the first half on a record-setting night for the Mustangs.
Schwarzl led the way to Friday's runaway 42-12 home win over Rhea County, a Region 4-5A matchup in which he was short-changed a Hail Mary touchdown pass at the first-half horn due to a penalty.
Still, even with his 39-yard touchdown pass to Roman Eulo called back, Schwarzl was 11-of-12 passing for 186 yards over the first two quarters and had three scores to build a commanding 16-point halftime lead for the Mustangs (5-1, 2-0).
"I was feeling it today," said Schwarzl, who finished with 285 total yards. "Just having fun is the key. The more fun you have, the easier the game comes to you and the better everyone else around you is, too.
Walker Valley vs. Rhea County on Sept. 22, 2023
"This is a great night with Coach (Drew) Akins becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history. He deserves that title. No one sees the hard work he puts in day in and day out. He is a father figure to me, and we are going to celebrate this special milestone."
Akins improved to 27-24 in his Walker Valley tenure.
Schwarzl completed a 56-yard deep ball on his first pass of the game to Hudson Makuch, who also reeled in a 29-yard touchdown at the back of the end zone on a picture-perfect throw from his quarterback, who avoided pressure to create a 21-0 lead with 5:05 left in the second quarter.
While Rhea County (3-3, 1-1) would answer with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Carr to Aiden Wilkerson, who finished with a game-high six receptions for 117 yards, Makuch would take the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown.
Makuch finished with 115 receiving yards on four catches.
Walker Valley senior Tyran Forte flashed his breakaway speed with a 55-yard run down the left sideline for a touchdown with 4:43 left in the third quarter, with that drive sealing the game's scoring.
Mustangs senior defensive back Braxton Smith set a program record with the ninth interception of his career.
"This team is something special," said Smith, who also recovered a fumble in the victory. "The milestones we have hit under Coach Akins are remarkable. We have changed this program."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at [email protected].