The magical season for the Walton Raiders came to a heartbreaking end on Saturday night.
After dominating most of their first 14 games in reaching the Georgia Class AAAAA title game undefeated, the Raiders understood what like their opponents have felt like.
The Grayson Rams jumped on Walton early, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second enroute to a 24-0 victory at the Georgia Dome.
In a word, the Raiders were overwhelmed by a quick, athletic and physical Grayson team on both sides of the ball.
Especially from Robert Nkemdiche, rated the top high school junior in the country by some college football recruiting services. The anchor of the Rams' defensive line, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Nkemdiche also ran for 81 yards. In fact, he outgained Walton's Tyren Jones, who had nearly 2.,300 yards on the season coming in but rushed for a season-low 72.
Big plays hurt Walton all night. The Raiders fumbled away their first possession, which Grayson turned into a field goal. In the second quarter the Rams threw a 45-yard touchdown pass that set Walton into a deep hole.
And the Raiders never recovered. Late in the fourth quarter, they had a chance to avoid the shutout but Grayson held on fourth-and goal on the 6-yard-line.
The Raiders will have plenty of their top players, including Jones, returning next season as they start once again at the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome against Brookwood.