MARIETTA – Brookwood mounted a furious fourth quarter rally to come from behind and defeat Walton 43-32 on Friday night.
The Broncos trailed 32-21 with just under 11 minutes to play before hitting another gear on offense.
“All the credit to Walton," Brookwood coach Philip Jones said. “It was like a heavyweight fight. This is the second game in a row we’ve had to come back and it’s a credit to the character of our kids.”
Brookwood opened the second half with an 11-play drive, capped by a Diggs 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to build the lead to 21-10. But the momentum swung quickly as in a matter of four minutes, the Raiders scored twice to take the lead. First, Stone McKnight caught a 39-yard pass from Zak Rozsman for the score. On the ensuing possession, Brookwood quarterback Dylan Lonergan was intercepted on his own 49.
Walton coach Daniel Brunner reached into his bags of tricks as he had Rozsman walk to the sideline, feigning indecision on the play call. The ball was then snapped to A.J. Brown, who pitched the ball back to his quarterback who then fired a 45-yard completion to McKnight at the Brookwood 4. Rozsman then completed a touchdown pass to Preston Evans on the next play and Walton led 25-21.
Rozsman made the score 32-21 early in the fourth quarter before Brookwood seized the game.
Less than two minutes after the Rozsman's score, Samuel Mbake hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lonergan to trim the lead to 32-29. After a stop on defense, Lonergam needed just two plays to put the Broncos back in the lead as he ran 13 yards and then 59 yards on successive plays for the score and the lead.
Complicating the Walton rally attempt was that Rozman was knocked out of the game and his replacement, Jeremy Hecklinski was unable to sustain the next possession.
Brookwood scored one final time, with just under 3 minutes remaining when Stone Bonner took a short pass and rumbled 65 yards for the game sealing touchdown.
“It’s a game of momentum and we let it slip out of our hands," Brunner said. “Our guys have nothing to be ashamed of, its on me as a coach to get things cleaned up for the next game.”
Brookwood embarked on a 10-play 67 yard drive which culminated in an 8-yard pass for the opening touchdown from Lonergan to Conley Davis.
Walton gave the ball back to the Broncos only two plays into its next drive as Braylen Stokes fumbled and Brookwood recovered on the 37. From there, the Broncos needed only three plays and Alexander Diggs ran 9 yards through the middle of the line for a 14-0 lead.
The Raiders responded in the second quarter. Moving to the Brookwood side of the field, the drive stalled on the Broncos 36. Walton’s Conor Cummins connected on a 53-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 14-3.
The score seemed to energize the Walton sideline and it gambled with a pooch kick by Cummins over the heads of the Brookwood forward kick off wall. The Raiders recovered on the Brookwood 38. After three runs moved the ball to the 16, Rozsman hit Ryan Polinski with a pass over the middle and he scored untouched to cut the Brookwood lead to 14-10 heading into halftime.
Rozsman completed 7-of-14 for 74 yards. Brown led the Raiders in rushing with 67 yards.