South Cobb couldn’t make a statement in stopping Tyren Jones as he accumulated 314 all-purpose yards — 217 rushing on 20 carries, 97 receiving yards on three catches — and scored five touchdowns to lead the Raiders to a lopsided 42-7 victory over South Cobb in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Walton (12-0) remained perfect on the season and will return to Raider Valley one more time to host Dacula next Friday in the state quarterfinals.
Even when South Cobb (8-4) crowded the line of scrimmage, Walton’s offensive line created holes for Jones. It was just more of the same for the junior dynamo, who has rushed for 1,959 yards and 30 touchdowns.
“He has exceptional talent, and with the rest of our team around him, he’s hard to handle,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said of Jones. “Any win is good at this point. It’s survive and advance for us.”
Walton was on the board on the fourth play of its opening drive when Jones swept right for a 48-yard touchdown run.
South Cobb, however, was able to recapture some energy when Brandon Watson intercepted Parker McLeod’s first pass attempt later in the quarter, but the Eagles couldn’t take advantage.
South Cobb’s ensuing drive ended with a botched fake punt attempt, and Jones was in the end zone seven plays later from 6 yards out to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead.
Late in the second quarter, Jones broke loose for a 94-yard touchdown down the right side, but he was called back for illegal block in the back. Jones managed to keep 60 of those yards, however, and scored his third touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run with 45 seconds left in the half.
After holding South Cobb to a quick three-and-out, Walton struck again when McLeod and Jones connected for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 1 second left.
Walton went on to put the finishing touches on South Cobb on the third play of the second half, when McLeod connected to Jones for a 58-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Jones was pulled from the game after scoring his fifth touchdown of the game, but Walton still added another third-quarter score when backup Justice Bailey barreled in from 1 yard out.
Before South Cobb’s Chris Beck scored on a 42-yard run with 2:59 left in the game to avoid the shutout, the Raiders never allowed the Eagles to get inside the Walton 38.
Quarterback Stephon Masha threw for 81 yards for South Cobb, and many of his pass attempts were either deflected or nearly intercepted by Walton defenders. Beck finished with 78 rushing yards.
“It’s a horrible way to go out,” said South Cobb coach Ed Koester, who guided the Eagles to the first state playoff victory in team history last week at Windsor Forest. “I think next week, we’re all going to think about our accomplishments (this season) and move forward.”