MARIETTA — With an 2-point conversion in overtime, Woodstock completed a late comeback to beat Walton 30-29 on Friday at Raider Valley.
It provided the Wolverines (3-7, 2-3 Region 4AAAAAAA) with a positive finish to what was otherwise a struggle-filled year.
“We didn’t have anything to lose right?” Woodstock coach Brent Budde said. “We made the throw and made the catch. We hadn’t made that all year, but that time we did, and I’m proud of the kids for that.”
Woodstock overcame a 19-7 fourth-quarter deficit behind quarterback Robbie Roper, who entered the game in the second quarter.
The sophomore led the Wolverines on scoring drives of 68 and 76 yards in the final period of regulation. The second of which was capped by a 21-yard scoring toss from Roper to Shaun Spence to give Woodstock its first lead of the game with less than 34 minutes remaining in regulation.
Trailing 22-19 after Woodstock’s successful 2-point conversion, Walton quarterback Zak Rozsman marched the Raiders (5-5, 3-2) down the field.
Using his arm and legs, the sophomore led the Raiders down inside Woodstock’s 20-yard line. On second down, Rozsman rifled a pass that scraped off the finger tips of Teagan Bierra that would have given the Raiders a lead with less than 30 seconds to go. The Raiders ultimately had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Conor Cummins to tie the game at 22-all.
“Out kids are resilient. They don’t quit, bottom line,” Walton coach Daniel Brunner said. “It’s the second overtime game we’ve lost. We’re right there in all of these games. We never quit. It’s just mental mistakes and lack of execution at times, and that’s what bit us tonight.”
Kenny Djaha scored from 6 yards out to put Walton ahead in overtime. Then, down to fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Roper kept the ball and plowed his way through multiple Walton defenders, setting up the Wolverines’ game-winning conversion, where he found Carson Pickens in the back of the end zone.
“That’s the heart of this team,” Budde said. “We’ve had a tough year, we’ve been close, and they could’ve easily hung it up, but they showed up tonight ready to compete against a team that’s a 1 or 2 seed.”
Behind Roper, Woodstock’s offense proved tough to stop, though turnovers undid its first two drives of the second half. Roper powered the Wolverines by passing for 145 yards and rushing for 56 yards in the final two periods and overtime.
“He was hot. He was throwing a good ball and was giving us a running threat by pulling it down, extending plays and kept his eyes downfield,” Budde said.
Ultimately, the loss did not affect Walton’s seeding for the playoffs, with Roswell’s win over Etowah wrapping up the region title. As the No. 2 seed, the Raiders will host Newnan in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state tournament.