After winning two straight games to climb back into the playoff race, the Walton High School football team (5-4) is looking to finish out its regular season slate with a road victory against St. John Paul II (3-6) in Tallahassee.

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — Suddenly, the Walton Braves are back in the thick of the playoff race.


After losing four of their five games between Sept. 6 and Oct. 4 to Arnold, Freeport, Marianna and Northview by a combined 129-92, coach Bobby Moore and Co. used the chaos of Tropical Storm Nestor to regroup and rebound in a big way.


Its Oct. 18 game against Chipley postponed until the following Monday, Walton (5-4 overall) topped the Tigers 35-22, forcing four turnovers and holding their offense to just 2.2 yards per attempt across 33 carries.


Four days later, the Braves did it again, beating Trenton 39-35 on the road behind a go-ahead touchdown pass with less than a minute left.


It all adds up to a No. 8 ranking in Region 1-3A in the latest edition of the FHSAA’s RPI rankings, just two spots away from playoff contention. The Braves’ .520 RPI is just .075 points off of sixth-place Trinity Christian (.595), which has already wrapped its 10-game regular season.


Walton can improve it standing, of course, with a 6-4 finish to its regular season, and it can secure its first non-losing season since 2015 in the process. The Braves will play St. John Paul II at 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday in Tallahassee.


A Class 2A private school, St. John Paul II is just 3-6 this year, ranks 10th overall in Region 1-2A and has not played since beating Munroe 47-20 on Oct. 18 behind senior Jeremiah Outley’s three touchdowns; the wide receiver caught just two passes for 3 yards, both going for scores, and returned a kick 90 yards for his third.


On the season, the Panthers have been outscored 197-174, while Walton has outscored its opponents 272-231.