After sluggish start, Raiders prevail in overtime
by Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
October 19, 2013 02:31 AM | 2832 views | 10 10 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walton running back K.K. Brooks prepares to leap a Wheeler defender Friday at Raider Valley. Though Brooks was held to a below-average 78 yards on the night, he had three touchdowns, including the game-tying score at the end of regulation and the eventual game-winner in overtime.
<BR>Special photo by Cecil Copeland
Walton running back K.K. Brooks prepares to leap a Wheeler defender Friday at Raider Valley. Though Brooks was held to a below-average 78 yards on the night, he had three touchdowns, including the game-tying score at the end of regulation and the eventual game-winner in overtime.
Special photo by Cecil Copeland
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MARIETTA — For Walton, it was better late than never Friday night.

The Raiders scored two touchdowns in the last 3½ minutes of regulation to erase a two-touchdown deficit, then went on to beat east Cobb rival Wheeler 35-28 in overtime in a Region 5AAAAAA battle at Raider Valley.

K.K. Brooks’ 4-yard touchdown run in overtime provided the winning margin for Walton (4-3, 3-1). That was after Brooks scored on a 1-yard run with 27 seconds left in regulation to tie the game.

The win allowed the Raiders to take a share of the region lead with Lassiter and Etowah, though the Trojans would own the tiebreaker with Walton. The Raiders will play Etowah on Nov. 1.

It was a late wakeup call for Walton, which struggled to get its offense moving through most of the game, before finally finding a spark in the final minutes of regulation to pull off the comeback and hand Wheeler (2-5, 0-4) its fifth straight loss.

“I told the kids at halftime that we had to be more consistent,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said. “But we waited until about 4 minutes left to turn it on, and we got the momentum, and it was hard for (Wheeler) to stop. I’m proud of the way we finished the game, but we still have a lot of work to do. We’re making so many mental mistakes, so many errors. We want to see how good a team we can be, and to do that, we have to cut those errors out. We could have a really good football team. I think we’re really close.”

A victory seemed out of the question for Walton after Wheeler’s Allen Artis intercepted a Price Wilson pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Victor Alves kicked the extra point, to give the Wildcats a 28-14 lead with 3:29 remaining in the game.

Beginning its next series at the 50-yard line with 3:16 left, Walton started out with a bang as Chad Clay took a lateral from Wilson and threw a 20-yard pass to D.J. Smith to move the ball down to the Wheeler 30.

Wilson proceeded to throw a 6-yard pass to Brooks, an 11-yard strike to Smith and a 7-yard pass to Bailey Wolff before connecting again with Wolff on a 6-yard scoring strike with 2:03 left. Christian Lucas’ kick helped the Raiders cut the Wheeler lead to 28-21.

Walton got a big break on Wheeler’s ensuing series, recovering a fumble on the first play of the drive and taking over at its own 44 with 2:03 left.

The Raiders took 11 plays to march down the field and completed the drive with Brooks’ 1-yard scoring run and Lucas’ kick with 27 seconds left, tying the game at 28-all and forcing it into overtime.

It was all Brooks on Walton’s first and only offensive series of overtime.

With Walton starting at the Wheeler 15, Brooks carried the ball in all five of the Raiders’ plays — moving the ball down the field on runs of 5 and 4 yards, then being stopped for no gain on his third carry before gaining 2 yards on his fourth attempt and scoring on a 4-yard scamper.

That was all the Raiders needed as they stopped Wheeler on downs on the ensuing series to clinch the win.

For Hidalgo, the lateral pass that Walton executed on the first play of its series after falling behind 28-14 was the turning point of the game.

“With about 4 minutes left, we still felt like we could score two,” he said. “I think the lateral is something we knew could work. We practiced it in drills and it paid off.”

Brooks scored on a 13-yard run with 7:27 remaining in the first quarter as Walton took a 7-0 lead.

But Wheeler came back with two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-7 advantage, with Ryles Kirkland throwing a 25-yard scoring pass to Devontae Jackson with 6:00 remaining and then Jackson finding the end zone on a 2-yard run with 40 seconds left.

The Wildcats increased their lead to 21-7 on a 3-yard touchdown run by Jackson with 2:45 remaining in the second quarter before Walton cut the advantage to 21-14 with a 17-yard scoring strike from Wilson to Clay as time ran out in the first half.

Comments
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raiderhater56
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October 20, 2013
wheeler won. if you went too the game you would understand.
Zebras go home
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October 19, 2013
I've never seen such a poor example from a group of referees. Wheeler played well enough to win on the field. Too bad they were playing against 11 strong players from Walton and a pack of theiving Zebras as well. Numerous major penalties - all called against Wheeler. Even several Walton fans I spoke to agreed that Wheeler was robbed of the opportunity to win. This isn't taking anything away from the great game that Walton played. I just wish the Zebras had stayed out of it and let the boys play.
Scholarship Coach
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October 19, 2013
Tough loss for the Wildcats. Their problem isn't necessarily at quarterback in my opinion. Unfortunately the same shortcoming that led them to lose 3 straight games WHITH their former quarterback is still their problem without him. They are undersized and lack experience and depth on their offensive and defensive lines. In each of their loses their opponents dominated the line of scrimmage and the defense tackled poorly.

It's clear that "George Funnyguy" either has an agenda... or doesn't really know much about football.

elijah's mom
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October 19, 2013
People were so ready for Elijah to be banned just because he wanted to win. He didnt mean any disrespect but now Wheeler can do it their way. I feel bad for all the other athletes who were trying to get recruited. My question is when will the game benefit the athletes instead of the athletes being used to benefit the coaches?
R Johnson
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October 21, 2013
The coaches use the players to benefit themselves.

Your son was treated unfairly in my opinion.

Blessings to Elijah and his family.
twitterdontlie
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October 21, 2013
'he didn't mean any disrespect'? Who are you fooling? He cussed out coaches. Our games were still in progress and he is tweeting on the field? The other players didn't have their phones with them and using Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, MOM 1ST, or is it GROWNANDSEXY?

You were bragging on Twitter: 'lmao!!!! I turned into a pure sister on him yesterday. He was shocked. The AD pi--ed me off. I had to spit fire so I know too.'

Other then you and your husband, none of the other Wheeler parents are trashing the coaches. Why do you want to portray our program in an embarrassing light? Our hope is to win the rest of our games with the hard nosed players we have. We'll support our fine head coach and his staff and keep our chins up.
superfunny
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October 21, 2013
@twitterdontlie that was a good one. Hard nosed players was hilarious. Lassiter is going to beat your "hard nosed players" by 50 points. Elijah was your only chance to win a game for the rest of the season.

don't be reading tweets during the game. you need to mind your business.
George Funnyguy
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October 19, 2013
Wheeler is back to starting a new losing streak.

I guess Elijah was right about the play calling. Don't worry Wildcat fans basketball is here.
wheeleristough
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October 19, 2013
Wheeler is a very good team. And they are a much better team without Staley and his crazy parents who are monumental headcases. If you think Staley was dismissed because he questioned play calling, you're completely clueless. Go back and read the tweets from this trio, including the tweets Staley was doing during games. It's not his fault he's the way he is. He comes by it naturally. He is long forgotten and Wheeler gains respect by having Collins and his staff at the helm and classy, hard working players like Artis, Jackson and Kirkland. Addition by subtraction.
losing streak
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October 21, 2013
congratulations on your moral victory while keeping your losing streak in tact. You didn't know the baggage was there until half way through the season? Laughable. Enjoy basketball season because your football season is over early again this year.
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