By PATRICK CASEY
Andrew Priest caught a pair of touchdown passes and the South Walton Seahawks scored two defensive touchdowns as they defeated Jay 35-0 in a District 1, Class A high school football contest.
The Royals, who celebrated Homecoming, continued to struggle on the 2010 season as the Seahawks held them to 79 total yards while forcing two costly turnovers in dropping the home team to 0-6 on the year.
Priest put the first two touchdowns of the game on the scoreboard as he caught passes of 25 and 34 yards in the first half to help the visiting squad to a 14-0 lead. Jay Gatto’s lone punt of the night set up the Seahawks next score as he pinned the Royals at their own 4-yard line with a 46-yard boot. Keith Stewart picked a fumble out of the air on the next play and trotted in from the 6-yard line for a touchdown to push the lead to 21-0.
The Seahawks defense struck for another score on Jay’s next possession as a Samuel James pass was picked off at the 40-yard line by Gatto and returned the distance for a 28-0 lead.
South Walton tacked on the final score of the night on their first possession of the second half as the team marched 73 yards to put more points on the board with Gatto running in from the 2-yard line for a 35-0 advantage. The game was played under the Mercy Rule the rest of the way, making for a short second half in a game that barely took two hours from start to finish.
The Seahawks defense forced seven punts and two turnovers as the team improved to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in district competition. Gatto led the offense with 66 rushing yards while he and Dylan Asbury shared the quarterback role. Asbury threw for 79 yards and had both touchdown tosses on the night.
The win marked a tumultuous week that saw head coach David Barron relieved of his coaching responsibilities as a yet-undisclosed incident is being investigated. Assistant principal and former Freeport defensive coordinator Charlie Marello was on the sidelines in Barron’s place with the rest of the South Walton assistant coaches for the contest on Friday night.
South Walton will travel to Sneads(1-5) to face a Pirates team that was crushed by Vernon 49-6 last week. The game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.