Walker ran into a bigger, faster and more proven team Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Class A private-school state playoffs, and George Walton Academy ran away with the 37-7 victory at Robertson Field.
George Walton (9-3), seeded 11th of 16 teams in the private-school bracket, scored on Tyler Jarvis’ 23-yard run on its opening possession.
The Bulldogs went on to compile 370 yards of offense, and they shut out the third-seeded Wolverines (11-1) through three quarters in a show of dominance on both sides of the ball.
“We knew they were bigger,” Walker coach John East said. “Turns out they had some speed, too. We knew they were a good-looking team. You could see it on film, so we knew we had our work cut out for us.”
As George Walton rolled to a 23-0 lead at the half, Walker was struggling.
The Wolverines picked up just one first down before the break, and they had fewer yards of offense (22) than penalties (25). Star running back Evan Kasian had carried the ball 10 times for just 21 yards.
“I sure don’t want to take anything away from them,” East said, “but it wasn’t our best ball. We were playing from behind from the beginning.”
After the break, Walker looked better. With the offense moving on the opening series of the second half, East was feeling good. The Wolverines started throwing the ball — totaling 103 passing yards, all in the second half.
“We tried to throw everything we could at them,” East said. “Coming out in the second half, we decided to open it up a little bit. We were moving the football. We were starting to execute. It looked good.”
Then came a fumble on that opening drive of the half, which George Walton’s Evan South recovered on his team’s 40.
On the first play of the Bulldogs’ next drive, Stanley Williams took the ball 60 yards for a touchdown and the 30-0 lead. It was the second time in the game Stanley scored on the first down of a possession — the first coming on a 65-yard run in the second quarter.
Williams, a junior who has already committed to Georgia, finished the night with 251 yards on 17 carries.
Still, Walker fought.
The Wolverines moved the ball into Bulldog territory once again, but the drive ended when Cameron Bloebaum’s pass was intercepted by Cale Brown.
While the turnover didn’t produce any points for George Walton, it set up the running clock in the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Bloebaum left the game win an injury to his left ankle. A 15-yard loss on the play forced the Wolverines to punt from their own end zone — a punt which Dimetrios Mason returned 48 yards for another touchdown.
Walker was able to put together one final drive, albeit against many of the Bulldogs’ reserves. Kasian carried the ball four times for 56 yards on the drive, giving him enough to finish the night with 17 carries for 99 yards — and the season with 2,081 rushing yards.
Kasian was also 2-for-3 passing for 52 yards, and he also caught a pass for 11 yards. It was the final game for the senior standout who’s dominated Walker’s record books and is being recruited to play at The Citadel next year.
Another graduating senior, Mike Ramsay, capped the drive with a 4-yard run — his only carry of the night. Ramsay’s committed to play at Duke.
Kevin Bray caught four passes for 63 yards to lead the Wolverines.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said East, the first-year coach who led Walker to its first region championship and a slew of record-setting numbers. “They have done a lot this season. 11-1 is nothing to feel badly about.”