Walker Valley Seeks Record Win Total


Coach Drew Akins returns to Walker Valley for his second year as the Mustangs’ head coach. Gone are the first year growing pains. In comes a confident coach … with an equally confident team.

Said quarterback Tucker Pope: “Last year, he was just getting into his groove, and this year, it’s his second year, so he’s just going to be a lot more confident with us and I think we’ll have a better season.”

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Said receiver Brody Swafford: “He knows who can play. He knows what our abililties are and what we can do. So I feel like, just his confidence is going to grow, and our confidence is going to grow in him.”

Said Akins: “Our confidence level is the biggest difference. I think we have a group now that understands what it takes to win. … I think this year we have the confidence to deal with any adversity that we have to face.”

The Mustangs will also have the experience. Five starting offensive linemen return to protect veteran playcaller Tucker Pope.

Said Pope: “They play the biggest role in this. They’re my dirty men. They do all the work for me, so they get most of the gratitude.”

Said offensive lineman Skyler Mullins: “It’s going to be a great experience because we have all the schematic and all the chemistry built up from like years behind, and now it’s all going to be combined into one unit.”

Walker Valley needs that foundation to meet the goals they have for this year.

Said Akins: “We’ve never had an eight game win season, and I think it’s attainable. We put high expectations on our kids, and if you meet those expectations, then our goals will meet themselves.”

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.