Heading into Friday’s contest between the Milton Eagles and visiting Walton Raiders, Region 5-AAAAAA was already convoluted. The Eagles’ Chad Toliver made sure the standings remained complicated.
Toliver rushed for 177 yards, two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 99 yards for another score as the Eagles topped the Raiders, 28-21.
Heading into the matchup, three teams had 3-1 records and three other teams were 2-2 in the eight-team region. The Eagles (6-2) now stand at 3-2 in the region along with the Raiders, who fell to 4-4 overall.
For Milton, it was the first win over the Raiders since 1994. Walton had owned a 13-game win streak in the series.
For whatever the Raiders threw at Milton, Toliver seemed to have an answer. After the Raiders marched 80 yards in seven plays to score on the game’s opening drive, Toliver returned the ensuing kickoff to neutralize the game.
Walton would eventually take a 21-13 lead midway through the third quarter, but Toliver responded with touchdown runs of 21 and 6 yards on consecutive possessions in the third and fourth quarters to bring the score to its final tally.
Toliver was aided by Milton’s strong line play on both sides of the ball. The offensive line helped pave the way for Toliver’s 21 carries and Micco Brisker (20 carries, 47 yards), while the defensive line contained a Raiders offense averaging 31 points. Michael Collins’ sack on a Walton third down at the end of the third quarter set up Toliver’s go-ahead score.
Milton had a chance to pull away in the first half, but settled for field goals in the red zone on back-to-back possessions to take a 13-7 lead.
KK Brooks’ 10-yard run with 56 seconds left in the second quarter gave the Raiders a 14-13 lead they would take to halftime. Five minutes into the third, Price Wilson found Davis Pidgeon in the end zone on an 11-yard pass to give Walton a 21-13 lead. But it would be the Raiders’ final points.
Brooks finished with 94 yards on 25 carries.
It wasn’t all good for Milton. Starting punter Matt Moskowitz – who has an offer from Vanderbilt – suffered an injury to his non-kicking leg in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.
Next week, Milton hosts Cherokee and Walton travels to Etowah.
Walton 7 7 7 0 – 21
Milton 7 6 8 7 – 28
W – Wilson Price 14 run (Christian Lucas kick)
M – Chad Toliver 99 kickoff return (Jordan Genovese kick)
M – Genovese 22 FG
M – Genovese 24 FG
W – KK Brooks 10 run (Lucas kick)
W – Davis Pidgeon 11 pass from Price (Lucas kick)
M – Toliver 21 run (Zack Spiezio pass from Austin McLeod)
M – Toliver 6 run (Genovese kick)
Follow Adam Krohn on Twitter @AdamKrohnAJC.