After bookend trips to the Georgia Dome for last season, the Raiders would like to repeat the feat -- with a better result at the end.
For the second year in a row, Walton opens its season at the Corky Kell Classic on Saturday, facing former state champion Brookwood in the nightcap beginning at 8:30 p.m.
It is the last of six games in the event named for the late coaching legend. All will be shown on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The Raiders, ranked No. 4 in Class AAAAAA, were 14-1 in 2011 and reached the Class AAAAA title game before being routed by Grayson.
Coach Rocky Hidalgo has most of his primary offensive power back in standout running back Tyren Jones and quarterback Parker McLeod, both of whom have committed to playing at .
Also back is senior offensive lineman Brandon Kublanow, who has verballed .
But Walton's linchpin on defense, as well as seven other starters, have to be replaced. Zack Blaylock, and his twin brother Daron, are now freshmen at Kentucky.
Still, the Raiders are favored to repeat as Class 5-AAAAAAA champions and to contend for a chance to return to the Dome in December.
Their schedule, however, is filled with challenges, including a game at McEachern next Friday. After defeating Lassiter at home twice last season, including the state semifinals, Walton plays its East Cobb and region rival on the road.
And all eyes will be on Raider Valley on Oct. 26, when the Raiders will play host to Milton on ESPNU, their first appearance ever on national television.