Walton (2-2, 1-0 Region 5AAAAAA) got down early, surged into a 17-point lead and held on for the four-point win.
Coach Rocky Hidalgo was happy for the win, but saw much room for improvement.
“We did not do a very good job in preparation for this football game, and it showed,” he said. “We played like we practiced all week long. We need to grow up, mature and take advantage of the opportunities in front of us.”
Hidalgo said he was nervous about the finish because of the effort on the other sideline.
“(On Friday), it was really about coach (Brent) Budde’s team,” Hidalgo said. “They really came out and played their tails off. He prepared his kids to play, and they did a great job.”
Walton led 37-20 early in the third quarter and looked like it was about to steamroll Woodstock (1-3, 0-1), but the Wolverines kept the score close. Walton pushed the lead back to 44-27 in the early minutes of the fourth quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Price Wilson to Maurice Gibson.
Wilson was 6-for-8 for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. At one point, he completed 11 straight passes and was 17-for-26 in the game with 250 yards and three touchdowns.
“He played better from the second quarter on,” Hidalgo said. “We missed some throws early, but he stepped up in the second half when we needed him.”
Chad Clay caught three passes for 59 yards, including a touchdown, and added a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown that put Walton up 30-20 on the third play from scrimmage of the second half.
“That was a big play. He is a kid with a lot of ability, and he did some really good things out there,” Hidalgo said.
Woodstock would not give up, as Budde pulled a play from the playbook of his predecessor, Mike O’Brien. Quarterback Justin Agner passed back to Alex Motsinger, who then launched a 69-yard touchdown pass to Reagan Amos that cut the Raider lead to 44-34.
“That is an old coach O’Brien play. With Alex Motsinger out at wide out now for us, he gives us a chance to throw that,” Budde said. “Man, what a throw it was. It was right on the money, and Amos did a great job of running underneath it.”
On its next possession, Woodstock drove 71 yards in 12 plays to cut the lead to 44-40 after a 21-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Agner to Amos.
Amos finished the game with three catches — all in the second half — for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Donavon Brand had an 83-yard rushing touchdown for Woodstock and finished the game with 146 yards on 16 carries.
The teams traded scores in the first half, and Woodstock led for most of the half, before Walton took a 23-20 lead with 23 seconds to play in the half.