CLAYTON — In the end, Clayton just had too much Tyler Walker.
Although the senior running back/linebacker stands just 5'7, and weighs 160 pounds soaking wet, he proved too much to handle Monday night at Centene Stadium, as University City valiantly fought, but couldn't get past the Greyhounds, in a 27-20 Class 4 District 5 championship game loss.
Clayton, which is now 9-3 on the year, advances to play Jefferson City Helias in the state quarterfinals on Saturday. Helias pounded Hannibal (MO) on Monday, and will be the host team when it meets the Greyhounds at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
U. City finished its year with a 6-6 record, but will go into the offseason lamenting its missed chances against Clayton on Monday.
The Lions were stopped on a 4th-and-goal just before halftime, netting them no points, and a 7-0 halftime deficit.
Then after rallying back to take the lead midway through the third quarter, U. City gave up two dynamite touchdown runs by Walker, that allowed Clayton to go ahead again 21-14.
Walker, whose scored eight touchdowns in his last two games, four each in Greyhound wins over Gateway Tech and U. City, finished with a game-high 182 rushing yards on 23 carries.
With the 55-yard interception return, Walker finished the night with 227 all-purpose yards, and even led all players with a whopping 23 tackles (15 solo).
Still, it almost wasn't enough, as U. City quarterback George Brown, who also threw for a touchdown, nearly pulled off the play of the year, when he darted through the Clayton defense for a 37-yard touchdown.
There were just under four minutes left in the game when that incredible play occurred, and with the PAT, U. City would've tied the game, or could've even gone ahead if they succeeded on a two-point conversion play.
Instead though, the Lions went for the extra-point to tie, but the try was blocked and Clayton remained in the lead 21-20.
Walker and the Greyhounds were able to run two minutes off the clock, before punting back to U. City, which gave Brown and the Lions the ball with 1:23 left in the game.
U. City got two first downs and were approaching Clayton territory, when Walker put an exclamation point on his brilliant night, by intercepting Brown's final pass, and then returning it for a touchdown as time expired to clinch the second district title in the last three years for the Greyhounds.
Score by Quarters ... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final
University City ........ 0 ... 0 .. 14 .. 6 -- 20
Clayton ................... 0 ... 7 ...14 .. 6 -- 27
CHS - Tyler Walker 3 yd run (Andy Rudolph kick) -- 11:15 .................. 0-7
UC - David Carmichael 23 yd run (Doug McCray kick) -- 10:53 .......... 7-7
UC - Ronnell Perkins 35 yd pass from George Brown (Doug McCray kick) -- 4:14 ..... 14-7
CHS - Tyler Walker 56 yd run (kick failed) -- 3:49 ............................... 14-13
CHS - Tyler Walker 11 yd run (Sean Anderson pass from Jake Brown) -- 1:30 ........ 14-21
UC - George Brown 37 yd run (kick failed) -- 3:50 .............................. 20-21
CHS - Tyler Walker 55 yd interception return (no PAT attempted) -- :00 ...... 20-27