Walnut Ridge Football Ends the Regular Season Undefeated; Headed to State Playoffs
November 6, 2019 -- On Friday, Walnut Ridge High School’s football team put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season, beating Independence High School 35-0, for a 10-0 record for the year.
“The last three years I’ve been here we have been close scratching the surface of being undefeated,” said senior player, Qian Magwood. “It just feels better because it came my senior year, but knowing what it took and finally having it all come together it felt so great.”:
Magwood, plays wide receiver and defensive back for the Scots. The three-sport athlete says going into the 2019 football season, the team was determined to set the bar high. Which they proved it the night of the Eastmoor game.
“The Eastmoor game, because we won our bell back,” said wide receiver and safety senior, Aaron Clark. “That really meant a lot to me, and how the game went down. We played on a Sunday. There was so much building up to that game and to go on a Sunday do it, that felt great.”
Not only did they win the bell back, they are completing their goals one-by-one.
Going undefeated this season… check. Becoming the City League champions for the South Division… check. Making a state playoffs run for the third straight year…check. Last thing to do now is to bring that state title back to Walnut Ridge.
“Just the mentality that no one is better than us. We put in too much work to come short, and we just feel that we are the best team in central Ohio,” Clark says.
Their hard work is recognized on and off the field. Head coach Byron Mattox has been the coach at Walnut Ridge for 13-years. Coaching big names like Denver Broncos tight end Austin Traylor, Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison and Columbus Destroyers receiver Rob Wheelwright, just to name a few. Mattox says this 2019 team, with eleven seniors, has been something special.
“Fortunately enough we have a really good senior class, and really good leadership so we have been instilling this for years as far as just focusing on going 1-0 each week, focus on the process, put in the work and great things will happen,” Mattox says.
The energy from the season is something that can be felt throughout Walnut Ridge, with alumni and within the community.
“This has always been known as an athletic school and the kids really get on board when the teams are winning,” says Walnut Ridge Principal, Dave Chamberlain. “The thing that we really have tried as a staff this year is to also work on our academic reputation so we can be the best of both worlds. I think moving forward our academic program will attract athletes, our athletes will attract academics and we will keep moving forward and be as successful as we can be here at walnut Ridge.”
“Ridge is one big family. We Play for each other,” said Clark.