The third-seeded Wolverines hope they will be just as successful in the postseason as they host 14-seed Athens Christian in the first round of the Class A private-school state playoffs tonight at Robertson Field.
With a win, the Wolverines would host either Aquinas or George Walton in the second round next week.
It will be the first home state playoff game for Walker (10-0), which will also try to achieve its first postseason win. The Wolverines lost in the first round in their only other state appearance in 2005.
Walker has come a long way under first-year coach John East, who inherited a program that has had only two winning seasons and has put together losing records the previous five years.
“We had a very good spring practice, so I knew then that we would be a pretty good football team,” East said. “We have been focusing on one game at a time and get better one practice at a time. Our players have done a great job all year and have gotten better every week.”
With a bye last week, it will be Walker’s first game since its 21-0 victory over Gordon Lee in the 6A play-in game Nov. 9.
The extra week off has proven to be a positive thing for East and his Wolverines.
“For us, it was our third bye week this season and byes have been good to us,” East said. “I think it was an opportunity for the guys to get healed up, so it’s been a good thing for us.”
Staying focused on day-to-day preparations has helped prevent Walker from peaking too soon, according to East.
“The guys are good about that,” he said. “Our focus is always to win the next game. When we are in Week 4, we don’t worry about Week 6. Same thing with practice. We focus on getting better one practice at a time. We don’t get ahead of ourselves. We just take it one step at a time.”
Stopping a potent Walker offense, led by running back Evan Kasian, that has averaged 33 points a game. is among the main concerns for a 4-6 Athens Christian
team that has had an up-and-down season.
The Eagles lost three of their first four games, then won their next three games before losing their final two regular-season contests.
However, Athens Christian is considered to have played the toughest schedule in Class A this season with games against Landmark Christian, Prince Avenue Christian, Athens Academy and Class AAA North Oconee.
It’s one reason East is impressed with Athens Christian, another is its aggressive defense.
“They are a good-looking football team,” East said. “One of the great things about them is that they pursue defensively well — they really go after it on defense.”