SANTA ROSA BEACH -- Senior Sage Roberts had eight catches, five for touchdowns to lead the South Walton Seahawks in a 49-21 win over the visiting Bozeman Bucks in a 1A District 3 football matchup.
"It was the Sage Roberts show tonight," said South Walton Coach Phil Tisa as he walked off a soggy football field.
"I'm glad that these seniors who went through the last two years of a lot of crap get a chance to go to the playoffs … that means a lot," Tisa said. The Seahawks, who now boast a 7-2 record, only won one game last season.
However, with the win over Bozeman, South Walton finishes as runner ups in District 3 and a chance to advance to the playoffs. After they travel to Baker next Friday for their last regular season game, they will travel to Port St. Joe to take on the Tiger Sharks in the first round of the playoffs.
In Friday's game with the Bucks, South Walton junior quarterback Jonathon Ortner completed 21 of 40 passes for 298 yards and six touchdowns. Roberts had five of the TD catches - 20 yards, 15, 4, 22 and 12. Alex Smith was on the receiving end of the other Ortner TD toss, a 55-yard strike at the end of the third quarter.
The Seahawks also got the job done on the ground, rushing for 148 yards with senior Zach Reese leading the way with 62 yards in 12 carries. Blayze McBrayer came in in the fourth quarter and carried the ball five times for 32 yards.
"Things worked well for us, even in sloppy conditions," Tisa said.
"The pass looked pretty good and we played good defense," he said. "We gave up a couple of home run balls, but in the end we got more stops than they did."
The two "home-run" balls Tisa is referring to came late in the third and the start of the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks were up 38-8, when the Bozeman Bucks scored on an 89-yard pass play. Quarterback Bubba Thompson hit a wide-open David Elmore for an 89-yard dash to the end zone. Matthew Oberley kicked in the point after for a 39-15 game with 49 seconds to play in the third.
South Walton turned around and answered in 20 seconds with Ortner putting the ball up on the first play from scrimmage to Smith who took it for a 55-yard score. Austin Garofalo kicked in the point after for a 46-15 mark.
Bozeman came right back in three plays with Thompson connecting with Elmore again, this time for a 76-yard TD strike. The point after kick was no good. Thompson finished the night completing five of 15 for 195 yards. He also scored on a 2-yard run for the Bucks in the first quarter.
The Bucks had 99 yards on the ground with David McKee picking up 73 yards in 10 carries.
Starting from their own 35-yard line, South Walton pushed the ball down the field to the 10-yard line, then scored one last time. On fourth down, freshman kicker Garofalo booted in a 30-yard field goal, his second of the night. He kicked a 22 yarder in the first quarter.