Walton puts new focus on defense in home opener
by William Bretherton
September 21, 2012 12:03 PM | 2228 views | 3 3 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After losing to North Cobb to finish off its non-region schedule, Walton will now play its first Region 5AAAAAA game and its first home game of the season.

The Raiders (2-1) draw Woodstock (0-3), which has struggled this season to put points on the board. Over the last three games, the Wolverines have averaged just over eight points a game.

However, Walton hasn’t been able to stop its opposition defensively much this season.

While the Raiders held Brookwood to 24 points due to a pass rush that caused havoc with the Broncos’ passing game, Walton allowed 35 points to McEachern and 49 to North Cobb.

As a result, Walton is more internally focused than it is worried about Woodstock.

“Our focus is on us,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said. “It’s not really on Woodstock. We didn’t play well last Friday night and we have issues with our own football team that we have to address.

“We’re not playing particularly good team defense right now, and that’s our focus. We’re struggling a little bit on defense. Our kids are continuing to improve, but we’ve been kind of been thrown to the wolves.”

Even still, both Woodstock and Walton will likely continue to do what they have done best for years: play tough defense for four quarters and run the football.

Woodstock has had difficulty running the football this season overall, though shifty running back Jean Boureau has had some success when he’s been able to find open ground to run in.

Walton running back Tyren Jones ran for 300 yards in consecutive games to start the season, but was held to 183 yards against North Cobb.

The Warriors used an all-out team effort to gang- tackle Jones. Combined with the early deficit that forced Walton to pass the ball more, Jones was limited in his ability to run the football somewhat.

Even still, Hidalgo brushes aside any criticism of his offense.

“I think we throw the ball just fine,” he said. “I know it’s sexy to do what other people do and throw it 50 times. Our issues weren’t necessarily offensive. I’ve been at Walton for 16 years, and for 16 years, there have been people wanting us to throw the ball more. It just is what it is. People think throwing the ball is sexy. It’s cooler than what we do.

“But it’s not what we’re about. As long as you’re winning, they don’t care. As soon as you lose, they ask you to throw the ball more. It’s about what you’re good at. We believe in a physical running game and a play-action passing game. Last year, when we were 14-0, people were saying we needed to throw the ball more.”

More than whether or not Walton is able to pass the ball, winning and losing football games comes down to just two things in Hidalgo’s view.

“It’s about execution and talent,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. We do a very good job of developing and coaching the offensive line. I would say we are probably as good or better at that as anyone in the business. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. If the talent changes, we’ll worry about that when it occurs.”
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Never Happy
September 21, 2012
Walton loses one game to a VERY good North Cobb team and folks are fussing at Hidalgo. If they can do a better job, why don't they submit an application to the CCSD? That is and has been a VERY strong program, but you know these East Cobb parents can't handle losing, especially to a team from Acworth (regardless of how good they are, and they are VERY good...). A little humble pie isn't necessarily a bad thing.
September 21, 2012
You hit the nail on the head, 'Never Happy.' I was ashamed to be near those spoiled brat 'fans' last Friday night. Everyone thinks they're a coach. What have you done for me lately? Even a trip to the state championship wasn't enough. They were screaming derogatory things at the coaches saying they suck, and even worse, calling out individual players. The young men who are 15, 16 and 17 trying to play their best. Do these idiots even wonder who they are sitting by? North Cobb is a very good team and none of the 9 new defensive players are as good as the Blaylocks or other 5 players who went on to play college football. Players were playing last Friday with injuries and others were sitting out with injuries. It happens. Shut up and stay home if all you're going to do is yell and complain.
September 21, 2012
What do you expect with a down year in recruiting. Give the coaches a break!

What the coaches need to do is give the ball to Tyren. Stick with the game plan. Don't let anyone else touch the ball. Oh wait.
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