Trailing 7-6 at halftime, Walker (11-0) stormed back with two touchdowns by Evan Kasian in the third quarter and added another score in the final period to advance to a second-round game at home against George Walton next Friday.
It’s the first state football playoff win for Walker, which was also hosting a postseason contest for the first time.
“It’s always important for a school to get that first playoff win,” Walker coach John East said. “For our team, the real prize is that you get to come back and play again and that’s what we want to keep doing. We want to go as far as we can, because we’re having so much fun.”
Kasian led the way for the Wolverines, rushing for 183 yards on 21 carries and scoring three touchdowns in all.
Kasian’s big night leaves him 22 yards short of the 2,000-yard mark for the season.
Taylor Hardigree rushed for 81 yards on 20 carries to lead Athens Christian (4-7).
Walker’s comeback began on the first series of the second half as Kasian — who only had 33 yards in the first half — scored on a 9-yard run and then added a 2-point conversion run after that to give the Wolverines a 14-7 lead with 7:39 remaining in the third quarter.
On Walker’s next series after Athens Christian was forced to punt, Kasian used runs of 10 and 15 yards to set up a 35-yard touchdown scamper to increase the Wolverines’ advantage to 20-7 with 1:24 left in the quarter.
After Walker got the ball back on a pass interception with 8:00 remaining in the game, it wasn’t long before it took advantage.
It took only five plays for Walker to score as Kasian’s 41-yard run moved the ball to the Athens Christian 5 and set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Mike Ramsay, with Kasian throwing a pass to Kyle Rehl for the 2-point conversion, to provide the Wolverines with their final margin of victory.
“We were in a little bit of a hole at halftime,” East said. “We go in at half and that’s the second time we’ve been down (this season), but everybody stayed calm.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Walker started the second period with a 16-play, 76-yard drive that Kasian finished with a 5-yard scoring run to put the Wolverines ahead 6-0 with 5:48 remaining in the first half.
Athens Christian responded on the next series as Brett Brandon threw a 68-yard pass to Stantavin Carruth that moved the ball to the Walker 7 and set up a 1-yard scoring run by Branton four plays later. Justin Bratcher’s extra-point kick put the Golden Eagles ahead 7-6 with 2:22 left in the half.