By PATRICK CASEY
The South Walton Seahawks tasted victory for the first time in 2012 as they won their season finale on the road in Franklin County by a score of 37-10 to finish 1-9 for the second season in a row.
The Walton County squad held a 16-3 lead at the half as an under-manned Franklin County team struggled to put together much of an offense on the night, playing without junior quarterback Dwayne Griggs whose wrist injury kept him out of the contest for the Eastpoint-based team that finished the year at 2-8.
Franklin County took a 3-0 lead with 5:16 left in the first quarter as Zach Howze drilled a 29-yard field goal to put the home team on top on their second possession of the game.
It was all South Walton from that point on as the Seahawks would score the next 37 points in the contest. Sophomore quarterback Johnathan Ortner threw touchdown passes to Drew Pfeiffer and Sage Roberts to take a 13-3 lead and Joe Ledo-Massey connected on a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to take a 13-point lead into the locker room.
Ortner hit Bishop Waldrop with a 15-yard touchdown pass on South Walton’s first drive of the second half and a Brandon Whalen 17-yard touchdown run made the score 30-3 with 6:36 to go in the third quarter.
Hampton Schaffer led a touchdown drive that saw him dive in from a yard out for a 37-3 lead with Franklin County getting their only touchdown of the night on their last possession of the game as Mercury Wynn grabbed a deep pass from quarterback Logan McLeod to finish an 80-yard strike for the final score of the night.
Ortner threw for 218 yards while the Seahawks defense took advantage of several wild snaps from the center by Franklin County to hit the home team for severe yardage losses to snuff out possessions. Joe Ledo-Massey had two interceptions on the night for a South Walton squad that allowed only one third-down conversion in 12 attempts.
“It was great to get a win for the seniors and those that stuck with the program,” coach Phil Tisa said after the game. “Ortner had a big night and has really played well the last two games. Drew Pfeiffer worked the seam for several big catches (8-132 yards). It’s nice to finish the year with a victory heading into 2013.”