KK Brooks rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter as Walton put the game away, to lead the Raiders to a 36-28 victory Friday at Marietta.
Walton trailed for only three and a half minutes in the second quarter but could not finish off the Blue Devils until late. Brooks’ 6-yard run with 4:02 to play capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive that gave the Raiders (2-0) a 29-20 lead.
The Raiders forced Marietta to punt on its next possession, but the snap was mishandled and the Raiders took over at the Marietta 1-yard line. Brooks, the Raiders’ workhorse who carried 25 times, scored again on the next play to put the Raiders ahead 36-20.
Marietta (0-2) cut the lead to 36-28 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brenton Martin to KirVonte Benson and a two-point conversion run by Martin with 1:30 to play, but the Blue Devils failed to recover the onside kick and Walton ran out the clock.
Benson matched Brooks virtually step for step for three quarters. He finished with 118 yards on 24 carries, caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt for a score.
Walton quarterback Josh White completed 12 of 18 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. His top target was junior wide receiver Sam Letton, who had eight receptions for 134 yards and a TD. On the Raiders’ 75-yard drive that essentially put the game away, White and Letton teamed up three times for 47 yards, including a key 29-yarder on a third-and-7 play at the Marietta 46. Brooks scored two plays later.
Walton finished with a 321-255 advantage in total offense.
Almost all of Marietta’s offense in the first half came from Benson and all-state placekicker Ian Shannon, who combined to give Marietta its only lead.
Shannon cut the deficit to 8-3 with a 51-yard field goal with 9:32 to play in the first half. The Blue Devils forced a punt on Walton’s next possession, and Benson returned it 50 yards for the go-ahead score.
But the lead didn’t last long. Walton scored two touchdowns in less than a minute later in the quarter to make it 22-10. White threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Letton, and Brooks scored on a 1-yard run that was set up by Taquar Stewart’s 30-yard fumble return to the Marietta 1-yard line.
Walton – 8-14-0-14 – 36
Marietta – 0-13-0-15 – 28
W – Josh White 1 run (Millar Morgan run)
M – Ian Shannon 51 field goal
M – KirVonte Benson 50 punt return (Shannon kick)
W – Sam Letton 25 pass from White (Chris Jensen kick)
W – KK Brooks 1 run (Jensen kick)
M – Shannon 28 field goal
M – Marlon Gober 12 pass from Brenton Martin (Shannon kick)
W – Brooks 6 run (Jensen kick)
W – Brooks 1 run (Jensen kick)
M – Benson 18 pass from Martin (Martin run)