Raiders stave off Wildcats’ bid for upset
by Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
October 20, 2012 02:26 AM | 6074 views | 2 2 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walton at Wheeler

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MARIETTA — Walton thwarted an upset bid from Wheeler, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to come from behind and win 24-23 in a Region 5AAAAAA game Friday at Corky Kell Stadium.

Wheeler (4-3, 1-3) led 23-10 late in the fourth quarter, but a 22-yard touchdown run by Tyren Jones, and a 24-yard pass from Price Wilson to D.J. Smith, erased Walton’s deficit.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said. “We’ve been missing something with the way we’ve played the last few weeks, and I think we found it here in the fourth quarter. We really got after it and, hopefully, we can carry that over into future weeks.”

Jones rushed for 234 yards on 33 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead Walton (5-2, 3-1).

Devontae Jackson rushed for 110 yards on 21 carries and two scores for Wheeler.

It appeared that Wheeler had the game under control after Jackson’s 15-yard run with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter gave the Wildcats a 23-10 lead.

Walton, however, began to make its move on the first series of the fourth quarter as the Raiders went on a nine-play, 68-yard drive that was capped off by Jones’ 22-yard touchdown run and Anthony Price’s extra-point that cut Wheeler’s lead to 23-17 with 9:00 remaining in the game.

After Wheeler went three-and-out and was forced to punt on the next series, Walton took the ball over at its own 32-yard line and got its drive off to a strong start with a 23-yard run by Smith that took the ball to the Wheeler 45 with 7:29 left.

Walton proceeded to march down the field, concluding its drive with Wilson’s 24-yard scoring strike to Smith, and Price’s extra point put the Raiders ahead for good with 4:50 left.

“We’ve had some execution issues,” Hidalgo said. “We’ve had turnovers, and that’s what we’ve been battling all year long. We’ve had some injuries on the offensive line, and some continuity issues, but we were able to pull everything together in the fourth quarter.”

Walton took the early advantage when Jones burst up the middle for an 80-yard touchdown run to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 5:00 remaining in the first quarter.

Wheeler responded on the next series as Jackson scored on a 20-yard run with 1:55 left in the quarter to tie the game at 7-all.

Walton regained the lead as Price’s 44-yard field goal with 6:47 remaining in the first half put the Raiders ahead 10-7.

Wheeler advanced deep into Walton territory on its next series as a 20-yard run by Jackson and a facemask penalty by Walton moved the ball down to the Raiders’ 15. The Wildcats concluded the drive with a 26-yard field goal by Barron with 3:46 left in the half to even the score at 10-all.

The Wildcats got two more field goals from Barron in the second quarter — a 32-yarder with 1:41 left and a 42-yarder as time ran out — to give them a 16-10 halftime lead.

“(Wheeler coach Mike) Collins and his kids did a great job,” Hidalgo said. “They played really hard. They’ve got a great coaching staff. They’ve done some fantastic things at Wheeler High School.”
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Rockies Beach
October 20, 2012
I was not impressed with Walton last night. We played Walton and Milton and Milton is so much better.

Why does Tyren warm up by himself? Is football still a team game?
October 21, 2012
I'm not sure what time you arrived at the game on Friday, but I don't think you're giving enough credit to our team. Wheeler is having a good football season and are playing teams tough this year. Walton's defense had a hard time containing Devonta Jackson because he's so small and just ran behind his blockers. He was a real threat and made some big plays. On defense, Wheeler stacked 8 in the box and with a Walton OL that is the weakest it has been in years, Tyren had no where to go and we were able to get to the quarterback pretty fast. Allen Artis is the real deal and is an absolute beast. I've got to think he's going to play DI football somewhere. In spite of our efforts, Walton still had almost 400 yards of total offense.

Wheeler fans also thought we caught a break or 2 on calls. Our guy fumbled early in the game and Walton recovered, but they said he was down. On another questionable call, there was a dropped pass by the Walton tight end and they said that it was a fumble that Wheeler recovered. Ironically, Walton scored their 2 touchdowns in the 4th when they lost 2 linemen and had to put in 2 sophomores. It was a great game that could've gone either way. We are really proud of our team and what Coach Collins and his staff has done for our school.

I don't understand what you're implying about Tyren or what you saw, but I can assure you he's the ultimate team player. Humble and focused and gives credit to his teammates. What you probably didn't know is that he does 2 workouts before the games. One with the team and one on his own. Tyren Jones is probably the most well conditioned athlete in the state of Georgia. His dad is a professional trainer and Tyren is his star pupil. Coach Jones, to this day, works out and trains kids from Wheeler, Walton, Lassiter and the surrounding community. He treats them all the same. His knowledge and positive attitude is what makes him so successful and is another reason that we will always cheer for Tyren, even if he's at another school.
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