Despite two touchdowns in the last minute of regulation to tie the game for Class 7A No. 8 Lowndes and send it to overtime, it was a 3-yard run from Walton’s Sutton Smith in overtime which put the Raiders ahead for good in the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday.
“We talked about the ups and downs of the game,” Walton coach Daniel Brunner said of the talk he gave his team before the overtime period. “Who has the most and who handles the bad. We continued to move forward and our boys did that. We handled the swing of the game, back and forth, which allowed us to play a really good ball team.”
Leading 28-14 with 1:50 left after a 31-yard touchdown run from quarterback Zak Rozsman, the 7A No. 4-ranked Raiders stood by and watched Lowndes Miami-commit quarterback Jacurri Brown take over. With :25 seconds left in the game, Brown passed to Chase Belcher for a 13-yard touchdown.
Lowndes then pieced together a flawless onside kick and mounted a game-tying charge capped by an 8-yard pass from Brown to Belcher. Lowndes had a chance to take an early lead in overtime, but the Walton defense forced the Vikings’ special teams to attempt a field goal, which it missed.
“I am just proud we came out with the victory,” Brunner said. “They play with extreme guts, man. They played their hearts out. They had guys going down and cramping and bringing guys to step in. Just that ‘next man’ mentality. Nobody was worried about who was on the field, just selfless football.”
Walton led early after a 26-yard run by Smith and a 62-yard pass from Rozsman to Mustafa Hefner. Brown’s 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter got Lowndes rolling and an 8-yard pass to Belcher tied the game late in the third quarter.
Rozsman was 6-of-7 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Smith finished with 98 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. Hefner had two receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown for Walton. Lota Ugokwe led the Raiders defense with four solo and eight assisted tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Ashton Woods made six solo tackles and two assists.
Brown was 10-of-18 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 153 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Belcher was efficient with five receptions for 47 yards and three touchdowns.