FREEPORT – It was a barn-burner in Freeport Friday night with the Walton County Braves holding on for a 37-34 win over the Freeport Bulldogs in varsity football.
After trailing the entire game, the Freeport Bulldogs took the lead with 3:32 left to play on a 5-yard run up the middle by K’wan Powell. Rajah Hooks got the Bulldogs in scoring position after breaking away for a 41-yard run. The Powell touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 33-30 advantage and Tragen Appelman kicked in the point after for a 34-30 game.
However, the Braves didn’t go down without a fight. On the third play from scrimmage, Walton’s Kentrell Parker connected with Eyin Cole for a catch-and-run for a 60-TD strike. Eliboria Hernandez was good for the kick after and Walton got the lead back, 37-34 with 2:40 left in the game.
Starting from their own 36-yard line, the Bulldogs couldn’t muster a first down and turned it over on downs with Walton getting the win.
“The thing I’m most happy about tonight was how they competed in the third quarter,” said Freeport Coach Shaun Arntz.
“They competed and didn’t give up.”
Not only that, but the Bulldogs held on to the ball.
“We didn’t have the turnovers that we’ve been having, so we’re happy about that. It kept us in the game and gave us a chance at the end. This was a competitive game. Overall it was a great effort and good ball security. Our guys have nothing to be upset about,” Arntz said.
Walton got on the board first on a 2-yard run up the middle by Kentrell Parker who finished up the night with two touchdowns for the Braves and a total of 101 yards. Parker also completed five of 12 passes for 168 yards, including a 60-yard TD strike.
The Braves struck again at the start of the second quarter on a 12-yard run by Jevon Graham. Graham had 60 yards for the night. Hernandez kicked in the PAT and the Braves led 14-0.
Freeport finally broke onto the board about midway of the second quarter. Rajah Hooks handed off to Zack Johnson who then aired it out to a wide-open Cameron Hardee for a 23-yard catch for the score. Hooks ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-8 game.
Walton came right back, with Vinson Flowers capping off a seven-play drive with a 2-yard run for the score.
About two minutes later, Freeport scored after Johnson picked off a Parker pass. Powell, who finished with 170 yards, scored on a 9-yard run. Appelman’s kick was good for a 20-14 game.
Walton scored once more in the first half on a 9-yard run by Parker for a 27-15 game at the half.
In the third quarter, Freeport closed it down when Powell broke loose for a 37-yard scamper to the end zone. The PAT attempt went wide left for a 27-21 game.
Walton answered with a 38-yard field goal from Hernandez to widen the gap 30-21.
In the fourth quarter, Freeport closed it down to a 30-27 game when Hooks scored on a 2-yard run around the right end. The kick again went wide left.
In the final four minutes, Powell picked off Parker to set up the next Freeport touchdown for the lead. However, the hopes of victory soon faded.
For the game, Freeport had 419 yards total offense with Hooks rushing for 178 yards and Powell, 170. Walton had 434 yards with Parker leading the way on the ground with 101 yards and two TDs.