MARIETTA -- In what was a balanced effort through the air and on the ground, West Forsyth handed Walton its first loss of the season with a 51-35 setback Friday at Raider Valley.
West Forsyth (2-1) threw for 272 yards and ran for 323 in the game.
“Hats off to West Forsyth. They just physically manhandled us,” Walton coach Daniel Bruner said. “They owned us. We didn't come to play. We didn't tackle well. We didn't fit the run very well. We didn't defend the pass very well. If you don't do any of that very well, then you don't really have a chance.
"At the end of the day, we have a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be.”
Keegan Stover led the air attack for West Forsyth in the first half by throwing for 253 yards on 11 completions, with only one of those completions not going for a first down or a touchdown. Peyton Streko and Ryder Stewart combined for 99 rushing yards to keep the Walton defense guessing.
The Wolverines changed up the game plan in the second half, with Streko and Stewart gaining 224 rushing yards following the break, and Stover attempting only four passes with two completions for 19 yards.
Streko had 256 yards and six touchdowns on 22 carries, and Stewart chipped in 67 yards on 11 carries.
“We just didn't tackle,” Bruner said. “On the last touchdown, we had (Streko) hemmed up against the sideline, and he cuts all the way back across the field for the touchdown. Three guys had him wrapped up, and they all missed the tackle. You just can't win if you don't tackle, and that was our biggest problem tonight.”
Walton got off to a fast start, with an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, as Zak Rozsman found Sutton Smith on a screen pass. After a botched snap on the point-after, the Raiders picked up two points instead and held an 8-0 lead with only 12 seconds off the clock.
Walton built a 22-7 lead late in the first quarter, but West Forsyth then scored 23 of the next 30 points and led 30-29 at the half.
The Raiders only gained 142 yards of offense in the second half, after compiling 279 yards in the first half.
“The offense did some good things in the first half, but we couldn't do much in the second half,” Bruner said.
Bruner said he wants his team to keep focusing on the future and forget about what already happened. Walton will also have a week off before opening Region 5AAAAAAA play Sept. 24 against Roswell.
“We need to get back on track. These guys need to look in the mirror and see who we really need to be right now,” Bruner said. “We have a lot of work to do to get ourselves back to where we are trying to go. At the end of the day, we just did not show up to play. There are no excuses.
“This was a non-region game, so, hopefully, it is a learning lesson for us, and we can get back to where we are wanting to go in the next few weeks.”