Pictured: RObert Billings (3), Zyere Horton (28) (Josh Major)
Pictured: RObert Billings (3), Zyere Horton (28)

Josh Major

Milton vs. Walton: A Semifinal for the Ages

December 3, 2021

Milton, GA- In a frigid night under the lights at the Eagle’s Nest, the Milton Eagles defeated the Mill Creek Eagles by a score of 36-27, earning the Eagles a trip to the state final four.

Milton will play the Walton Raiders who defeated Brookwood, 52-35. Collins Hill will face off against Grayson on the other side of the bracket. Milton will play Walton at The Eagle’s Nest with additional seating being added this week. Two powerful offenses will be the narrative for this semifinal matchup.

Walton Impact Players

QB Jeremy Hecklinski (So.)- 78 completions, 1471 passing yards, 15 total touchdowns, 30 carries, 221 rushing yards

RB Sutton Smith (Sr.)- 140 carries, 14 receptions, 1111 total yards, 18 total touchdowns

CB Marcus Allen (Sr.)- 59 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, two interceptions, one forced fumble

Walton enters this matchup with a 9-3 record. The Raiders have racked up wins against Lowndes, Pope, Roswell, Hillgrove, North Paulding, Harrison, Colquitt County, Archer, and Brookwood. However, the Raiders have losses to West Forsyth, North Cobb, and Marietta. The strength of this team is their offense who averages 35 points per game.

Walton uses two quarterbacks in their offensive system, Senior Zak Rozman and Sophomore Jeremy Hecklinski. Last week Hecklinski saw the majority of snaps completing 14 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Hecklinski also had nine carries for 32 yards and one touchdown.

Walton’s most dangerous weapon offensively is Senior running back Sutton Smith. Last week Smith had 12 carries for 62 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore running back Austin Williams saw 10 carries for 22 yards.

Senior receiver Rawson Macneill had a fantastic game against Brookwood catching 5 balls for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Sutton Smith caught a long 64 yards touchdown. Senior receiver Marcus Allen had two catches for 51 yards and one touchdown.

 

Milton Impact Players

QB Devin Farrell (Sr.)- 140 completions, 1983 passing yards, 34 total touchdowns, 111 carries, 875 rushing yards, 126 QBR

RB Jordan McDonald (Sr.)- 154 carries, 1382 rushing yards, 25 total touchdowns

EDGE LT Overton (Jr.)- 40 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, one forced fumble

Senior quarterback Devin Farrell will make his last home start this Friday. Against Mill Creek Farrell completed only three passes for 119 yards and one touchdown. Farrell did a fine job running the ball with 14 carries for 40 yards.

As per the usual Jordan McDonald had another monumental playoff game. McDonald had 21 carries for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Many of McDonald’s carries came out of the Wildcat formation which seemed to be a success point in the win. Even Junior Lebbeus Overton got in on the scoring action with one rushing touchdown.

Even though Farrell completed three passes all three of his passes has large impacts on the game. Senior receiver Brooks Bortle had a 57-yard touchdown pass on a busted coverage. Junior Bryce Thornton had a 33-yard reception. Senior Elliot Meyer had one reception for 28 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, interceptions and big performances from big players helped seal the deal against Mill Creek. Milton will need another big game from their defense and especially the big men up front to come out on top of this one.

Leading the team in total tackles was Junior defensive lineman Lebbeus Overton. Overton had 10 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Senior defensive lineman AJ Crawford had six tackles, one tackle for loss and one sack. Senior defensive lineman Giles Tchio made three tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. Junior defensive lineman Wyatt Smalley made three tackles and one tackle for loss.

Junior safety Robert Billings might have had the biggest impact on the game with his 55-yard fumble recovery that swung the momentum in favor of Milton. Billings also recorded one tackle. Junior Brayden Holmes finished with four tackles and one interception. Junior cornerback Bryce Thornton made eight tackles. Senior cornerback Cam Canion made six tackles.

Senior Zyere Horton made nine total tackles and three tackles for loss. Senior linebacker Dylan Miller recorded three tackles and one tackle for loss. Junior linebacker Caleb Moran finished with two tackles.

Keys to Victory: Walton

One major factor that is going Walton’s way is they are red hot coming into this game after beating a two seed and two number one seeds. Walton has been able to thrive off forcing turnovers then making scoring opportunities. Walton will have to score touchdowns and not kick field goals to keep up with Milton.

Keys to Victory: Milton

One major factor going Milton’s way is the Eagles have recently been on this stage before. The last time Milton played in the semifinals was in 2018 where they knocked off Lowndes. Milton will have to put the ball in hands of McDonald to grind down the Raiders and then put them away later in the game. Milton also needs to take advantage of Walton’s weaker secondary by getting good throws to receivers and letting your athletes make plays. On defense, the Eagles will have to take away Walton’s offensive threat and force turnovers.

Score Prediction

Milton/41

Walton/24

Offensive Player of the Game: Jordan McDonald

Defensive Player of the Game: Bryce Thornton

 

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