Heading into the homecoming ceremony on Friday at halftime, the mood in Raider Valley was subdued. The Raiders trailed the Warriors 7-14, having struggled with their opportunities in the red zone. Junior running back Kenny Djaha scored the lone touchdown in the first half, making it back to back scoring weeks for Djaha.
But, it was clear from the first drive of the second half that the Raiders had not lost faith in themselves. Sophomore quarterback Zak Rozsman had an electric second half, running for a touchdown early in the 3rd and throwing the game-winning touchdown late in the 4th. Rozsman has demonstrated his leadership this year, and it was clear that he was not ready to let the setbacks of the first half define his game. Senior running back KD Stokes continued his strong senior campaign, rushing for several first downs to ice the game away for the Raiders. Sophomore wide receiver Rawson MacNeill caught the game-winning touchdown, the first of his career. MacNeill went over the top of the Warriors defender to make a spectacular leaping grab and keep both feet inbounds. Freshman wide receiver Pearce Spurlin then followed up with a strong catch over the middle in traffic for the two-point conversion. These two young receivers are poised for big things for Walton.
The Raider defense was again spectacular in the victory, coming away with 3 interceptions. Senior linebacker Jeb Carriere was all over the field, intercepting a pass in the first half and making multiple stops near the line of scrimmage. Sophomore Marcus Allen’s interception in the win, the first one of his career at the varsity level, gave the Raiders the ball at midfield and another opportunity to score. Ultimately, it was yet another interception from Austin Eldred to slam the door shut on the Warriors. The talented defensive back has 5 interceptions now on the season.
The Raiders will take on Woodstock in their senior night next Friday at 7:30 in Raider Valley.