published Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Lions jump out, hold on for win

Red Bank has two starting quarterbacks.

One played well under center and the other played tight end in the Lions' 37-33 win over Walker Valley on Friday night.

Niquia McDuffie led the Lions with 120 rushing yards and one touchdown and threw for 317 yards, three touchdowns and one interception to propel Red Bank to a 3-0 start on the season.

Hagen Wilkey, who started the season opener behind center, caught two passes for 73 yards and a first-quarter touchdown.

"I'm good with either quarterback," coach Tim Daniels said. "Hagen made a heck of a catch and scored on a little naked route that we had. They both play offense and defense, and we can go with either guy."

Daniels went with McDuffie and stayed with him for the entire game. After all, he helped the Lions build a 28-13 lead at halftime.

Walker Valley running back Kelvin Wells helped the Mustangs (0-3) attempt a second-half comeback. He finished with 174 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries.

Before the break, McDuffie completed 11 of 15 passes for 235 yards and two touchdown in addition to his 56-yard touchdown sprint.

Frunsez Kendricks also scored and Kameno Watson caught a 24-yard pass from McDuffie -- all of which put control of the game squarely in the Lions' paws. The only big mistake they made in the first half was allowing an 85-yard kickoff return by Gabe Cartwright.

A safety by Jake Parker and a 68-yard pass from McDuffie to Deres Benn gave the Lions an even more comfortable 37-20 lead in the third quarter.

"I feel that I played real well in the first half and kind of sloppy in the second," McDuffie said. "But it's one of the most complete games I've played."

The Mustangs' offense didn't care how well McDuffie was playing. They started rolling just as well in the second half.

"It was the longest second half I think I've experienced," Daniels said. "They had a couple of trick plays, including a 300-pounder go for [29] yards on a fake punt."

The Mustangs scored 20 points in the second half as their ground attack became effective behind Wells, who was limited to 16 yards in the first half. He had 158 in the second half, including TD runs of 61 and 21 yards.

Walker Valley finished the game with the ball in the hands of quarterback Garrett Wallace, who could have attempted a Hail Mary pass. But Randal Lee and Edward Coker crushed him for a game-ending sack.

"I don't really know what happened in the second half," Benn said. "I don't think we had the same mindset as the first half."

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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