Sandy Creek entered the 2015 season with some concerns on offense, most notably finding replacements for quarterback Trey Walker (1,338 yards passing) and running back Eric Swinney (1,842 yards rushing), who graduated.
In the season opener Friday against Creekview in the Corky Kell Classic at McEachern, sophomore quarterback Bryant Walker and a trio of running backs eased many of those concerns and showed that the Patriots’ offense should be just fine.
Walker, Trey Walker’s younger brother and the son of Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker, was 12-for-16 passing for 135 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-0 victory for the fourth-ranked team in Class AAAA. Jaelon Greene (84 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries), Drezyn Parson (64 yards on 12 carries) and Marvin Hubbard (53 yards on eight carries) combined for 202 of the Patriots’ 211 yards rushing. Sandy Creek totalled 375 yards of offense.
“We made some steps to answer some of the questions,” Chip Walker said. “We’re not going to say everything’s answered after one game; we’ve got to prove it a couple of more weeks. But I think we got off on the right foot.”
Bryant Walker was at his best midway through the second quarter, leading Sandy Creek on a 16-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that gave the Patriots a 20-0 lead with 4:49 to play in the half. He was 6-for-10 for 58 yards on the drive, which ended with Greene’s 2-yard scoring run.
Before that, all Walker needed to do was hand the ball to the running backs, who combined for 126 yards on 10 carries on the first two drives, which both produced touchdowns.
“I was really pleased with the way the running backs played,” Chip Walker said. “All three of them made some big runs and did some good things. And I was proud of Bryant, making his first start. It’s a tough situation for a 10th grader to step into, and I thought he did a good job. I thought he was really comfortable with what we were doing. We’ve just got to take this and improve every week.”
Hubbard put the game away when he returned the second-half kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and a 27-0 lead.
Senior Javon Jackson also had a busy night. He set up a third-quarter touchdown with an interception, was 2-for-7 passing for 29 yards and returned two punts for 28 yards.
The lopsided loss was the second in two years at the Corky Kell Classic for Creekview, which lost to North Paulding 55-20 in the event in 2014. The Grizzlies overcame an 0-3 start last season to reach the Class AAAAA playoffs.
Creekview’s offense struggled against an active Sandy Creek defense. The Grizzlies finished with 102 yards of offense, including just four yards rushing on 19 carries. Their only scoring chance came early in the second quarter when they trailed 13-0, but they turned the ball over on downs on the Sandy Creek 23.
Quarterback Kyle Wilkie, who passed for 2,338 yards last season, finished 11-for-26 for 98 yards with two interceptions.
“I thought we came out and played with great effort and focus, and I thought we did a good job of executing offensively and defensively,” Chip Walker said. “We made some mistakes, but it was the first game and we’ve got some things to work on.”
Sandy Creek – 13-7-14-7 – 41
Creekview – 0-0-0-0 – 0
S – Major Weems 21 pass from Bryant Walker (Benamin Rutland kick)
S – Jaelon Greene 1 run (run failed)
S – Greene 2 run (Rutland kick)
S – Marvin Hubbard 86 kickoff return (Rutland kick)
S – Parker Mallett 24 pass from Walker (Rutland kick)
S – Eric Woods 7 run (Rutland kick)