CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB)-- The Blue Raiders bend but don't break defense did the trick, staving off a late Mustang rally Friday night at Benny Monroe Stadium to give Cleveland a 24-17 win over Bradley County rival Walker Valley. Cleveland dented the scoreboard first on their opening drive, a steady diet of T.J. Parker and Raekwon Bunion, with the latter taking it in from one yard out despite fumbling and recovering the ball in the end zone for a 7-0 score that would stand through halftime.
The Mustangs responded to Head Coach Glen Ryan's call to play, taking their first possession of the second half all the way to the end zone with Donnell Armour getting the call to tie the game at 7.
The Mustangs next possession ends at Cleveland's 3 yard line, when Will Hilliker stepped in front of a Kolten Gibson pass and takes it all the way back for a 97 yard pick six interception, 14-7 Blue Raiders.
Walker Valley's aerial assault would be undeterred, Gibson hooking up with Zach Eslinger over the middle, he takes it in for a 14 all score.
Cleveland would again stymie the Mustangs passing game when Ben Myrick steps in front of another Gibson pass, he takes it down to set up an Austin Massey to Isaiah Beaty 6 yard touchdown toss for a 21-14 Cleveland lead.
A fourth quarter Mustang drive to tie stalls, Kevin Sabany knocks a 35 yard field goal to cut the deficit to 21-17.
The Blue Raiders would kick a field goal with :34 seconds remaining to make the final score 24-17 Cleveland, who seals a playoff berth as they face Ooltewah next week.