Waco — Representing Italy High School and Italy Gladiator Football, recent graduate, Ryheem Walker, completed his week of practices and appearances as a member of the 2013 FCA Victory Bowl Red Team. While staying with a FCA host family and three other teammates for 3 days and 4 nights, Walker’s week culminated in a showcase of many of the area’s most talented grid-iron warriors at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco on Saturday for the 5th Annual Super Centex Victory Bowl.
Joining Walker in the FCA Victory Bowl experience from neighboring schools as fellow Red Team All-Stars were Avalon’s Reece Marshall at middle linebacker, and Milford’s Jairus Russell in the secondary. Cheering for the Red Team was Milford’s all-star cheerleader, Brittany Goss.
With the Red Team kicking off to start the contest, Walker was the first tackler to reach Blue’s kick returner and deliver the first big hit of the game to pen the challengers inside their 20-yard line. A man of few words, Walker let his emotions show as he exuberantly celebrated the result of the play. Blue Team would eventually punt it away allowing the Red Team’s offense to move into field goal range. The 42 yard attempt by Gatesville kicker Sebastian Corrales was good and Walker and his teammates led 3-0 early in the first-quarter.
Blue responded with a drive that featured back-to-back runs by La Vega’s Randy Gober to set the ball at the doorstep of Red’s goal line. At the 3:05 mark of the first, a pass into the right flat from Florence quarterback Kaleb Hardy to open receiver Zane Trotter for a touchdown strike. The point-after kick was true to give Blue a 7-3 edge.
Red’s next offensive try resulted in a punt. With Walker on the punt coverage team, Axtell’s Lucas Helleck caused a fumble that teammate Cody Richmond of Hamilton recovered at the Blue Team’s 25-yard line.
Gatesville quarterback Cole Edmiston, on 4th-and-12 from the twenty-seven, scrambled well to find Bremond’s Corey Bienski for a 1st down at Blue’s 5-yard line. Edmiston then handed off to Ellison’s Isiah Cowan who blasted the interior and met Marshall at the goal line. Marshall made the tackle but Cowan fell across the line for a touchdown to give Red back the lead, 10-7, with 9:05 still to play in the second-quarter.
Blue answered right back at the 7:44 mark when Mexia’s Broderick Reeves stunned the Red defense with a momentum swinging 71-yard touchdown scamper down Blue’s sideline to ignite the fans and ultimately give the Blue Team a 14-10 advantage.
The Blue Team kicks away from Walker and then clamps down on Red’s returner at the 17-yard line. With time winding down in the first half, a bomb pass by Red’s offense advances the ball to the 35-yard line of the Blue Team. A second pass completion moves the ball to the 4-yard line. An illegal substitution penalty backs up Red up five and then next two plays lose two more yards to the eleven. Red’s Corrales adds a 23-yard field goal with 2:53 showing to tighten the deficit, 14-13.
Again, Walker makes the tackle on the ensuing kickoff along the sideline at Blue’s 23-yard line. A pass play and a run play allow Red to reach the Blue’s 42-yard line. Walker, from his outside linebacker position, forces a Red runner out at the forty-one on the next play. Blue was determined, however, as Robinson quarterback Carson Earp connects with Corsicana’s Bobby Wallace on well executed route along Red’s sideline for a 27-yard touchdown completion that helps to distance Blue 21-13 on the scoreboard with 0:40 left.
Red quickly moves the ball across midfield with help from an illegal hit penalty on a defenseless receiver but the 44-yard attempt by Corrales lands well short allowing Blue to take a 21-13 lead into the halftime break.
Players, cheerleaders and coaches were introduced during halftime and the fans were treated to a couple of routines from the cheerleaders and a couple of energetic musical numbers from the all-star cast of the Victory Bowl band.
Red’s initial drive of the second half stalls in a punt. With Walker splitting time and on the sideline, Blue Team’s offense mounts another drive resulting in another touchdown to go up 28-13 with 4:57 left in third-quarter.
Walker hurries back onto the field for the kickoff return and makes Blue pay for booting the ball in his direction. From the goal line, Walker finds a running lane created by his blockers and veers right down the Blue sideline all the way to the 40-yard line. With 4:48 to play in the third, Walker’s effort gives the Red team new life. Surprisingly, Walker’s duties were strictly limited to defense and special teams despite having 1,829 rushing yards as a Gladiator this season along with 95 receiving yards.
The Red offense matriculates its way down to the twenty but can venture no further and opts for another field goal try. The kick by Corrales deflects off the right goal post keeping Blue well in front, 28-13, with 1:15 glowing on the clock.
Blue takes over on offense and drives. Moments later with the game now in the fourth-quarter, a hard hit by Walker pops the ball out with Red seeming to recover. The runner was ruled down before the hit, unfortunately, and Blue retains possession. With the Blue Team continuing to move closer and closer to Blue’s goal line, the ball is stripped and Walker picks it up and rans for a few yards before being tackled at the 28-yard line.
Walker gives his offense the chance they need but Blue’s defense rises to the occasion and forces Red to punt again. Blue crosses midfield on the return and shortly afterwards passes into the end zone for the touchdown. The kick is good to make the score 35-13.
The Red Team gets good return yards on the kickoff just past midfield and this time they take advantage of the good field position. With 3:02 left in the game, Edmiston hits Tyler Jaynes in the corner of the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown pass and then gives to Cowen who sprints left for the two-point conversion to make the score 35-21. The touchdown kept the score respectable but it was the Blue Team’s day as they defeat the Red Team for the first time in the 5-year history of the FCA Victory Bowl, despite the best defensive efforts of Walker, Marshall and Russell. The Red Team All-Stars hold an overall 4-1 win record over the Blue All-Stars.
After the game, Mexia’s Broderick Reeves was awarded the Bob McQueen Offensive MVP award and Waco High safety Adrian Norwood received the Bob McQueen Defensive MVP honor. Both men were presented trophies.
Italy High School AD/HFC Hank Hollywood congratulated Walker on a job well done after the game as did his supporters who made the trip to Waco to witness Walker’s final high school game.
Walker is the 3rd Italy Gladiator to play in the FCA Super Centex Victory Bowl with Jasenio Anderson competing in Victory Bowl III and Larry Mayberry, Sr., competing in Victory Bowl IV. Walker will take his skills to the next level and play football for Tyler Junior College.
Post Game News Release:
The Heart of Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes just completed the 5th annual Super Centex Victory Bowl.
With over 2,000 in attendance and over $60,000 raised the event was a great success.
Special thanks to: Curtis Riddle, Larry Eubank, Shelly Connor, Wood Paint and Body, Mark Stiles, Joshua and Amber Droll, Vivian Moreland, Vincent and Lisa Jacinto, the Gladiator Athletic Booster Club and Larry Eubank.
View more photos of the 2013 FCA Super Centex Victory Bowl V with the option to buy at MyMoments-Michelleyezak.smugmug.com.
Red Team Roster
- Ryheem Walker, RB/LB, Italy
- Reece Marshall, LB, Avalon
- Jairus Russell, WR/SS, Milford
- Danial Steels, RB/SS, Frost
- Alfredo Librado, OL/DL, Hillsboro
- Kez Williams, DT, Hubbard
- Jacob Kyle, C/DT, Mart
- Quentin Bryant, WR/CB, Mart
- Colton Stegall, WR/DB, Hico
- Brandon Stewart, WR/SS, Hico
- Tyler Russell, RB/S, Abbott
- Lucas Helleck, WR/DL, Axtell
- Corbin Williams, WR/CB, Bynum
- Richard Bolton, OL/DL, Riesel
- Cole Anderson, RB/LB, West
- Chris Lee, WR/LB, Wortham
- Kyle Battle, WR/CB, Belton
- Peter Shelburne, QB/K, Belton
- Tyler Wilson, TE/DL, Bremond
- Corey Bienski, WR/DE, Bremond
- Brian Pullen, C/DT, China Spring
- Kade Munden, QB/P, China Spring
- Garrett Evans, OL/DL, Clifton
- Kyler Kleibrink, WR/LB, Clifton
- Darius McClinton, RB/LB, Copperas Cove
- Les Breeze Sakaria, OL, Copperas Cove
- Billy Hatten, DL, Copperas Cove
- Fernando Perez, RB/LB, Covington
- Hunter Fritscher, RB/DB, Crawford
- Joseph Roberson, WR/FS, Central Texas Christian
- Isiah Cowan, RB/S, Ellison
- Hunter Teegardin, OL/DL, Ellison
- Sebastian Corrales, K/P, Gatesville
- Cole Edmiston, QB/FS, Gatesville
- Tyler Jaynes, WR/CB, Gatesville
- Cody Richmond, QB/FS, Hamilton
- Tyler Brown, RB/LB, Harker Heights
- Tyrel Stokes, WR/FS, Harker Heights
- Marcus Irons, WR/DB, McGregor
- Scott Tucker, OL/DL, McGregor
- Uriel Arroyo, OL/LB, Moody
- Jacob Christian, TE/DL, Penelope
- Josh King, OL/DL, Shoemaker
- Terrance Valentine, OL/DL, Shoemaker
- Alex Miller, WR/LB, Temple Home School
- Jeff Stark, RB/LB, Troy
- Brittany Goss, Milford
- Maggie McGee, Hubbard
- Baillie Jung, Blum
- Madison Williamson, Blum
- Kylie Bennett, Riesel
- Angelique Briggs, Axtell
- Melanie Lucas, Clifton
- Emily Reynoso, China Spring
- Rachael McFarland, Covington
- London Anthony, Hamilton
- Elizabeth Keith, McGregor
- Meghan Carpenter, TCA
- Kyle Cooper, Gatesville — Head
- Josh Ball, Bynum
- Keith Wood, Hico
- Jeff Kasowski, Bremond
- Mike Mullins, Harker Heights
Blue Team Roster
- Jayd Kirby, QB/S, Blooming Grove
- Michael Kline, OL/LB, Kerens
- Kaegan Dillard, FB/DL, Valley Mills
- Bobby Wallace, QB/DB, Corsicana
- D’Eriq Jordan, LB/DL, Corsicana
- La’Darian Hopwood, WR/FS, Marlin
- Desmond Womack, OL/DL, Marlin
- Riley Edwards, WR/DB, Academy
- Keith Orcutt, C, Academy
- Ky’Ondris Landrum, WR/DB, Chilton
- Terrance Ratliff, RB/LB, Connally
- Trevor McLearen, TE/QB, Connally
- Dalton Paul, DL, Evant
- Zachary Pratt, OL/DL, Fairfield
- Andre Welch, RB/LB, Fairfied
- Kaleb Hardy, QB/P, Florence
- Jimmy Struble, WR/S, Florence
- Terell Miles, S, Groesbeck
- Evan Ruen, RB/PR, Groesbeck
- Reece Nicholson, RB/LB, Holland
- Marcus Hodges, WR/DB, Killeen
- Elika Sailiata, OL/DL, Killeen
- Dasjaevian Dixon, TE/DL, La Vega
- Randy Gober, RB/CB, La Vega
- Patrick Koon, OL, La Vega
- Cole Channon, WR/DB, Lorena
- Cooper Cox, TE/LB, Lorena
- Broderick Reeves, RB/CB, Mexia
- Kieston Carter, TE/LB, Mexia
- Chaz Chase, OL, Midway
- Justin Barnes, DB, Midway
- Devon Petty, OL, Midway
- Jeremy Ballard, RB/CB, Mildred
- Noah Pennell, OL/DL, Mildred
- Carson Earp, QB/P, Robinson
- EJ Waggy, OL/DL, Rogers
- Trevon Williams, OL/DL, Rosebud-Lott
- Billy Golding, C/DT, Salado
- Kelton Henderson, C/LB, Teague
- Daryl Brooks, WR/DB, Teague
- Adrian Barragan, TE/DL, University
- JaDarius Wright, RB/LB, University
- Ben Diaz, K/CB, Waco High
- Adrian Norwood, DB, Waco High
- Dillon Rose, RB/LB, Walnut Springs
- Zane Trotter, WR/CB, Walnut Springs
- Brittany McClure, Kerens
- Ashley Haynes, Chilton
- Kacie Tuerck, Academy
- Alyssa Holt, Connally
- J’Lee McCabe, Evant
- Kyley McLean, Groesbeck
- JoAnn Mazoch, Holland
- Sydney Taylor, Lorena
- Livi Schulz, Robinson
- Bridgett Gloria, Salado
- Haley Guerrero, Teague
- Joylynn Pearson, Waco High
- Willie Williams, La Vega — Head
- Patrick Harvell, Mildred
- Craig Jackson, Rosebud-Lott
- Tim Trotter, Walnut Springs
- Daniel Johnson, Teague