By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Braves wrapped up the 2010 regular season with a 39-23 victory over the Vernon Yellowjackets on Friday night to post a 7-3 record heading into this week’s first round playoff game at Taylor County.
The Braves rolled to a 36-7 halftime lead as the offense scored on six of their eight possessions in the first half to build enough of a margin to substitute players liberally in the second half of play.
Walton took the opening kickoff and put points on the scoreboard as Steven Myrick caught an 8-yard pass from quarterback Liam Miller to give the home team a 7-0 lead with 8:52 left in the opening quarter. Myrick scored on a 15-yard reception early in the second quarter to push Walton’s lead to 13-0.
Vernon got back into the game with 10:09 to go in the first half as receiver Taron Greene got behind the Braves defense for a 68-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 13-7.
Walton’s fans had little to worry about, though, as the Braves scored 23 points on their next four possessions with Martin Lilland catching a 40-yard pass for one touchdown while Steven Myrick raced in from 25 yards out for another. Senior quarterback Liam Miller ran in from 14 yards out for another touchdown while junior kicker Alex Brack tacked on a 38-yard field goal to round out the scoring for a 36-7 halftime lead.
Vernon took the second-half kickoff and marched 75 yards for a touchdown in 10 plays as Dequarious Peterson scored from a yard out to cut the lead to 36-14. Walton played their reserves for the majority of the second half and tallied only a single 30-yard field goal by Alex Brack over the final 24 minutes of play.
Vernon(7-3) added a 22-yard field goal by Cody Small and Greene caught a 16-yard pass from Dylan Lee with 2:43 left in the game for the final 39-23 margin. The victory was Walton’s fifth in a row against Vernon as the Braves now hold a 9-3 record in the series.
Steven Myrick led the Braves with 104 rushing yards while Miller threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Martin Lilland led the receiving corps with five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Walton celebrated Senior Night before the start of the game as they honored 20 seniors with an on-field ceremony before playing their final home game at Everette Yates Memorial Stadium.
Walton will travel to Perry to face Taylor County (10-0) in an opening round Class 2B playoff game on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. The Braves last met the Bulldogs in 1969 and won the only playoff game between the two schools in 1968 with a 13-7 road victory.