The Hornets scored 21 points in a span of 3:36 late in the third quarter to upset Walton 28-24. The Raiders had dominated the first half and held a 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
That’s when Roswell capitalized on Walton’s turnovers to take control of the game. After the Hornets scored on a 49-yard run by Mechane Slade with 5:23 left in the third quarter, they struck again less than a minute later.
Walton quarterback Parker McLeod, who had missed the past five games due to injury, was intercepted by Roswell’s Grant Beidel. Beidel returned the interception 23 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
McLeod then fumbled the snap on Walton’s next possession and the Hornets took the lead for good two plays later. After the fumble, Roswell quarterback Ryan Monty hit Bennett Barton on a 50-yard touchdown pass. Barton kicked the fourth of his extra points on the night to put the Hornets ahead 28-21.
The Raiders, who fell to 7-3, did manage a 34-yard field goal by Anthony Price midway through the fourth quarter to pull within four points, but couldn’t do enough to win in the end.
A disappointed Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said his team played a tale of two halves against the Hornets.
“If we’re going to have any success, we’ve got to be prepared to play an entire 48 minutes and we didn’t do that tonight,” Hidalgo said. “We played some of the best football we’ve played all season in the first half and some of the worst that we’ve played in about five weeks in the second half.”
Roswell, which ended the season with a 3-7 record, is a much better team than its record indicates, according to coach Justin Sanderson.
“I guarantee you that we’re the best 3-7 team in the state of Georgia,” Sanderson said. “We just didn’t really show up in the first half, but we got our sea legs in the second half and the interception by Grant was huge.”
Price Wilson started the game for Walton at quarterback, but McLeod came in during the first series and played the rest of the game. Despite his fumble and interception, McLeod finished the game 10-for-15 for 92 yards.
D.J. Smith had a game-high 187 rushing yards on 32 carries for the Raiders. Barton did the most damage to Walton by leading the Hornets with 232 receiving yards on six receptions.