CLEVELAND, Tenn. — For the first time this season, there was no pressure on the Bradley Central football team heading into the fourth quarter. The outcome was determined long before then.
The offense erupted for 456 yards and the defense was equally impressive as the Bears won their District 5-AAA opener, 38-14 over county rival Walker Valley at Bear Stadium.
Bradley quarterback Brett Standifer finished with 179 yards passing and 108 on the ground and four total touchdowns, while Logan Fetzner led the Bears (3-1) with 117 yards rushing. Receiver Dee Crisp caught five passes for 143 yards and two scores and added an interception.
"I was a little nervous coming into the game, because Walker Valley has never beat us, and we hadn't been finishing games," Crisp said. "I thought that we started hard and we finished hard tonight."
The Bears ran for 276 yards and three scores. Christian Hamilton added a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We needed that," Bradley coach Damon Floyd said of the run game. "We've been bad there, but we can't abandon it. We challenged the offensive line to make some holes, and they did a good job there tonight."
Bradley limited the Mustangs to 145 yards of total offense and three first downs and made two first-half interceptions but led only 17-7. A mental lapse and a heady play led to a 75-yard Mustangs touchdown pass from Cory Cook to Colton Morrow in the second quarter in which the ball was tipped by a Bradley defender.
Walker Valley blocked a field-goal kick in the second half, and freshman Cooper Melton scooped up the ball and ran 65 yards for the Mustangs' second touchdown, but they totaled only 32 yards of offense in the second half.
Floyd credited middle linebacker Eduardo Trevino's return to the lineup after a preseason injury as a reason for Bradley's defensive success. Trevino turned in seven tackles and a sack. Daniel Clark had the team's other interception.
After a big win against Rhea County a week earlier, the Mustangs (3-2, 0-2) couldn't get anything going Friday. Holt Spencer was the team's leading rusher with 23 yards on eight carries.
"We just got our butts kicked," Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan said. "When you get on the big stage, you've got to step up. You can't have mental lapses. Nothing out there resembled how we play, and that's on me. We had way too many mistakes tonight."
The Bears host Signal Mountain next week, while the Mustangs travel to Polk County.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.