Monument/Dayville junior Gabe Walker had hot feet in Saturday’s game against the Adrian/Jordan Valley Antelopes, scoring on three kickoff returns.
The score was tied 16-16 at halftime, but the Antelopes leapt ahead in the second half, winning 52-32.
The first quarter ended with zeros on the scoreboard, as both junior varsity teams struggled through intermittent rain and wind at the Monument field. The Antelopes were first on the board following an interception halfway through the second quarter.
The Tigers came roaring back with Walker’s first kickoff return. Freshman quarterback Mark Thomas ran in the extra point to tie the game. In fast seesaw fashion, the Antelopes ran in a touchdown from midfield on their next possession.
But Walker ran back the next kickoff for a touchdown — breaking tackles as he punched through the Antelope special team defense. Thomas ran in the extra point to tie the game.
The Antelopes scored halfway through the third quarter with a long run from midfield. On their next possession, the Tigers were driven back, but senior punter Rafael Dualibi booted one of several long kicks to force the Antelopes deep in their own territory.
It took only two plays for the Antelopes to score, however. The extra-point try failed, making the score 30-16.
Then, as one spectator noted aloud, the Antelopes failed to learn their lesson and kicked deep to Walker again, who scampered up the middle for his third touchdown. The extra-point try failed, leaving the score 30-22.
The Antelopes took the ball to the one-inch line and scored with a pass midway through the fourth quarter, bringing the score to 44-22. The Tigers stopped the extra-point run. About a minute later, the Antelopes intercepted a Tiger pass and scored several plays later. A successful extra-point conversion gave the Antelopes a 52-32 win.
Walker, who was crowned Homecoming King at halftime, also had numerous tackles and a sack in the first quarter.
“It was an exciting game,” said Tiger head coach Nathaniel Ashley. “Our guys played hard.”
He said he was pleased with Walker’s kickoff returns.
“Our offense (later) stalled, and we are going to work on that a lot this week, but our defense looked better than weeks prior,” Ashley said. “Overall, I was happy with the effort, and we will build off that game for this next game against Crane.”
The Tigers are on the road Friday to meet up with the Mustangs at 1 p.m. in Crane.