The Walton Raiders added another region win to their record with a 34-20 victory over the Etowah Eagles. As the Raiders head into an important game next week against the Roswell Hornets, they’ll look to repeat much of what they showed on Friday night (10/18/19).
Offensively, the Raiders look to have figured out a formula, first establishing the run and then reading the defense based off of the looks. Senior tailback KD Stokes rushed for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns in the contest, continuing his huge year for the Raiders. Stokes is now up to 633 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season and has become the first Raider since 2017 to run for over 10 touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Zak Rozsman continued his impressive performance in region play, going 15-22 for 241 yards and a touchdown pass. After running the ball on the first few drives, offensive coordinator Chris Hirschfield began keeping the ball in his quarterback’s hands. Rozsman read the linebackers and coverages on run-pass option. A pivotal play in the game came when the Raiders were driving in Etowah territory, up 17-13. On the 5-yard line, Rozsman read the coverage and recognized he had man coverage on the outside. He made the throw, and freshman receiver Pearce Spurlin did the rest.
Spurlin has quietly been an impactful playmaker for the Raiders in his freshman year. While last night was his first touchdown in varsity play, he has been a formidable assignment for defensive backs in pass coverage and run blocking.
Fellow receiver Justin McConnell had his best game of the season, finishing with 6 receptions for 123 yards. The senior even hauled in a 33-yard pass down the sideline to set up a Raider touchdown. McConnell, a threat down the field, leads the Raiders in receiving yards.
The Raider defense continued their dominance, holding the Eagles to 13 points for the majority of the game until the Eagles managed to find the end zone on their final drive. Senior Drew DeWitt intercepted a pass off of a deflection in the end zone, giving the Raiders 10 interceptions on the year.
Senior Will Chapman continued his big year, both forcing and recovering a fumble. Will also has 3 interceptions on the year and is a key leader for the Raiders this year. The defensive line also deserves credit for the win, sacking the Eagles three times. Standout defensive lineman and Bowdoin football commit Tal Brill had 2 tackles for loss and a sack.
The Raider defense has certainly been a strong point this year, allowing only 19 points per game so far. Defensive coordinator Tim Ewing says of his defense, “So proud of this young defense and how they continue to get better every week. Their preparation was unprecedented.”
The Raiders will face a tough test next week, traveling to region foe Roswell High School. Friday’s performance shows the Raiders certainly are up for the challenge.