By PATRICK CASEY
Pensacola Catholic used a versatile offense to keep Walton off-balance as Marquis Sumler rushed for 212 yards and senior wide receiver Alex Bast caught a 23-yard touchdown pass to lead the Crusaders to a 31-0 victory over Walton at their Homecoming.
The Braves, who were shutout by the Crusaders for the first time in the series history, got off to a hot start as Pensacola Catholic snapped the ball over their punter’s head on the first possession of the night, allowing Walton to recover the ball at their 17-yard line for an early scoring opportunity. Walton would get no closer as the Crusaders defense moved them backwards on the next four plays. Walton failed to score, setting the tone for what would be a solid defensive effort for the Crusaders.
Catholic got on the scoreboard first with two minutes to go in the opening quarter as Marquis Sumler ran six yards for a touchdown after a short punt gave the home team great field position at the Walton 38-yard line.
Walton’s defense kept fighting throughout the first half while the Walton offense sputtered. The Crusaders got the ball back with just over five minutes to go in the first half and marched 65 yards for another touchdown as Shaun White capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge. The Crusaders then caught a break as a high, pooch kick went un-fielded by Walton and was recovered by the home team to give them another possession before halftime. The Crusaders drove into Walton’s red zone before settling for a Diego Figueroa 29-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.
Walton’s offense had three opportunities to put points on the board in the second half, reaching as far as the Catholic 10-yard line, but failed to score all three times. The Braves turned the ball over on downs twice and senior quarterback Tarrell Bramlet had a pass deflected and picked off to stop the other opportunity.
Issac Jackson was held to 64 rushing yards with Deron Hogans hauling in three passes for 48 yards, but Walton’s offense found different ways to stop themselves with either penalties, poor execution or just plain bad luck against a Catholic defense that played one of their best games of the year.
Pensacola Catholic has won nine of the last ten meetings in the series, but still trails 13-16 in the overall series as Walton dominated the Crusaders in the 1980s and 1990s by winning 14 of 15 games during that period.
Walton (5-2) will travel to West Florida Tech (2-5) to face the Jaguars in a non-district contest this week. The Braves will prepare for a home game with Marianna on November 7 with a playoff berth at stake for Walton. The Braves have not won a district game since 2005, but can salvage a playoff berth and a likely date with top-ranked Madison County with a win
SCORE BY QUARTERS 1 2 3 4 F
PENS CATHOLIC 7 10 7 7 31
WALTON 0 0 0 0 0
CAT- Sumler 6 run (Figueroa kick)
CAT- White 1 run (Figueroa kick)
CAT- Figueroa 28-yard FG
CAT- Sumler 20 run (Figueroa kick)
CAT- Bast 23 pass from White (Figueroa kick)
TEAM STATISTICS WAL CAT
First Downs 10 14
Rushes-Yards 29-37 40-249
Passing Yards 118 88
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-22-1 8-18-0
Plays-Total Offense 51-155 59-337
Return Yards 8 47
Punts-Average 5-32 4-29
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Interceptions-Yards Ret 0-0 1-14
Penalties-Yards 8-67 12-70
Time Of Poss 22:29 25:31
Rushing: WAL- I.Jackson 18-64, T.Williams 2-1, Miller 1-(-3), Hogans 1-(-4), TEAM 1-(-4), Bramlet 6-(-17). CAT- Sumler 18-212, S.White 8-39, Weathers 8-23, E.Smith 1-5, Bast 2-3, TEAM 3-(-33).
Passing: WAL- Bramlet 8-18-1-115, Miller 1-3-0-3, I.Jackson 0-1-0-0. CAT- S.White 8-18-0-88.
Receiving: WAL- Hogans 3-48, Stone 3-14, Lilland 1-48, R.Jackson 1-5, T.Williams 1-3. CAT- Bast 3-59, #6 3-23, E.Smith 1-7, #1 1-(-1).