By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Braves picked up their second district win of 2010 as they defeated the Chipley Tigers 28-14 on Friday night at Everette Yates Memorial Stadium.
Walton used a 21-point second quarter to build a 28-7 halftime advantage, then held on as Chipley attempted to rally in a defensive second half for the win. Walton’s defense played one of their best games of the season as they held the Tigers to 158 total yards while bottling up the Chipley rushing attack to the tune of just 77 yards on the ground.
Walton took the opening kickoff and put points on the scoreboard as junior running back Tray Williams completed a 73-yard drive with a 25-yard scamper along the home sidelines for a 7-0 lead with 9:40 left in the first quarter.
Chipley took advantage of a poor Walton punt to take over the football at the Braves’ 13-yard line with senior Shonquelle Swain cashing in for the Tigers’ first points of the night on a 13-yard run to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:12 left in the opening period.
The Braves immediately responded with a 75-yard march in four plays as Williams made a spectacular grab of a Liam Miller pass at the Tigers 25-yard line, then shook off the defender and raced into the endzone for a 50-yard touchdown strike and a 14-7 advantage.
The Walton special teams unit made the play of the night with 7:36 left in the first half as Deon Lee raced in and blocked a Tigers punt, picking up the pigskin at the 12-yard line and racing in for a touchdown and a 20-7 lead. Lee, a senior, scored the first varsity touchdown of his career while also providing Walton’s lone sack of the night.
The Braves were not done as they scored one more time before the half as Quamille Williams hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Miller to cap a 10-play, 52-yard drive with 98 seconds left before the break. Williams, a senior receiver, made a perfect grab of the over-the-shoulder toss for the score. Fellow receiver Levi Schipper then caught the two-point pass just inside the sideline of the endzone for a 28-7 halftime margin.
The second half was a much more defensive affair. Chipley came out of the locker room and put together a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ate up 6:22 of the third quarter before junior quarterback Josh Myers dove in from one yard away to cut Walton’s lead to 28-14. It was as close as the Tigers would get on the night.
The Braves reverted to the “Crazy Brave” offense as they direct-snapped the football to Steven Myrick and Tray Williams on several of their possessions in the second half. While the Braves did not score any points after halftime, they shortened the game by keeping the clock moving while holding onto the lead.
Chipley had three possessions in Walton territory after cutting the lead to 28-14 but could not get into the endzone again as Walton held the Tigers on downs twice while Quamille Williams put the icing on the cake with an interception of a Myers pass with 21 seconds left in the game to seal the win.
Walton struggled on special teams as Steven Myrick hit his first two punts of the night less than five yards with his third attempt resulting in a desperation pass as the snap sailed over his head, forcing a throw to midfield that fell incomplete. The Braves survived two of the three calamities without giving up a point due to outstanding play by the defense.
Miller threw for 181 yards on the night while tossing two touchdown passes while Tray Williams caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Williams also led the Braves with 36 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The win propels Walton to a 2-0 record in District 1, Class 2B and gives Walton a chance to win their first district championship since 1998 if they can pick up a win at Pensacola Catholic on October 22.
Walton (5-1) has their bye week this week before playing their last four games of the regular season.
It was not all good news for Walton on the week as the Braves learned they will have to play the rest of the 2010 season without senior wide receiver Corliss Stone. Stone injured his knee in the FAMU High contest and will likely have surgery to repair the damage. The win over Chipley was sweet for Braves head coach Lenny Jankowski as he has posted a 5-0 record against the Tigers in five seasons. The Braves had not won five consecutive games against the Tigers since at least the 1930s.