WALKERSVILLE — On a night which essentially was a coronation for the defending MPSSAA Class 2A state champions, the Walkersville Lions showed they didn’t have any plans to abdicate the throne just yet.
And like any good team facing a host of challengers, No. 13 Walkersville flattened an opponent for the second straight week doing the exact same things they did on the run to the title last year – showing off backfield versatility en route to a 56-0 win over visiting Liberty.
Using the quartet of senior running backs Ty Littleton, Jacob Wetzel, Tyler Gleason and Christian Policelli, the Lions rushed for 260 yards on the ground. It was Littleton who started the action, as on Walkersville’s first drive he picked up 27 yards on four carries.
“[The balance] always helps give us breaks,” said Littleton, who finished with 69 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. “It also helps with different formations and helps throw the defense off.”
After Littleton got the ball into Liberty territory, Wetzel went 37 yards for Walkersville’s first of eight touchdowns — five of which coming on the ground.
On the following offensive drive, all four Lions backs got touches, including two for Littleton, one for Gleason, two for Policelli and two for Wetzel, who again waltzed into the end zone, which gave Walkersville a 14-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Littleton made it 21-0 on a 5-yard score.
Walkersville continued the four-back rotation and split reps evenly. No tailback finished with less than 30 yards, but neither rushed for more than 70 yards — a reflection of how balanced and precise the Walkersville ground game was on Friday night.
“We’re just trying to wear them down,” said Walkersville head coach Joe Polce, whose Lions have know outscored opponents 115-0 to start the season. “It’s big for us to be able to mix and match and rotate people in and out.”
The running backs weren’t the only stars of the show, as both the defense and passing sides of Walkersville’s game plan got into the scoring act in the second quarter. Before a 25-yard Gleason touchdown run made it 35-0, senior quarterback Billy Gant hit Wetzel on a 10-yard swing pass for a touchdown – one of Gant’s two touchdown passes on the night.
The second Gant touchdown pass was a 28-yarder to Jose Polce that put Walkersville up 49-0. After that, the Lions brought in their back-ups.
On the defensive side, Walkersville held Liberty to 22 yards of offense. It was Walkersvlle’s secondary that had the most explosive impact as they racked up four interceptions, including one that was taken back for a touchdown (by Wetzel) and one that directly set-up a touchdown (by Walkersville linebacker Jeremiah Sweet).
In the end, Walkersville’s first home game since winning the 2016 2A state title was half football game, half raucous celebration, and a full reminder of why the Lions are still one of the most dangerous teams in the state.