By PATRICK CASEY
The South Walton Seahawks took advantage of four Baker turnovers to pick up a 21-14 Homecoming victory on Friday night.
Defensive back Andrew Priest picked off two Logan Wagner passes in the first half of play while Dylan Asbury added one of his own and South Walton converted 7-of-12 third down conversions on the night as they put together three scoring drives of more than 50 yards to improve to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in district play.
The Seahawks got on the scoreboard on their second possession of the night as they marched 61 yards after Wagner threw his second interception of the game with Jay Gatto rushing in from four yards out for a 7-0 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter.
The Gators responded with an 80-yard drive that used up almost six minutes of the clock to cut the lead to 7-6 as Wagner dove in from two yards out. Keith Stewart blocked the extra point to keep the Seahawks in the lead. South Walton came right back with a 58-yard drive to push the advantage to 14-6 as Zack Parker caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dylan Asbury with 5:34 left in the first half.
South Walton took the second half kickoff and used 7:36 of the third quarter to stretch the lead to 21-6 as Jay Gatto dove in from two yards away to give the Seahawks a commanding lead. The Gators would not go away as they came right back with a 64-yard drive that saw Wagner score from three yards out with 17 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the margin to 21-14.
South Walton had an opportunity to close the door on a Gators comeback when Wagner fumbled the ball after being hit by John Bogucki. Sophomore Shane Dalton fell on the loose pigskin to give the Seahawks the football at the 18-yard line of the Gators but Jonathan O’Hara missed a 27-yard field goal with 2:39 to play to keep the margin at seven points.
Baker moved from their own 20-yard line to the South Walton 42 before Wagner’s fourth down pass was wide of target to end their last chance at a road comeback. Jay Gatto led South Walton with 77 rushing yards on 21 carries as the Seahawks posted 282 yards of total offense on the night. Baker ran for 188 yards on the ground and threw for 73 yards, but the four turnovers was more than the Gators could overcome on the road as they fell to 1-3 on the year.
South Walton faces a tough test as they head to Bonifay on Friday night to face the Holmes County Bluedevils in a crucial District 1, Class A contest. The Seahawks are 3-0 against Holmes County and last made a trip to Bonifay during the 2007 season as they escaped with a hard-fought 16-14 victory. All three games have been decided by 10 points or less. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
South Walton crowned Caitlin Holliday their 2010 Homecoming Queen with Tristan LaNasa chosen as Homecoming King.