Walton rallies past Delhi, 38-35, in MAC thriller

Ryan Ames Daily Star

Walton running back Kaylieb Stanton (30) jumps over Delhi defender Tom Ruchar (48) in Saturday's game at Dave Kelly Field.

DELHI – The Delhi-Walton football rivalry is one of the most storied matchups in all of New York State history. Dating back to the first game in 1892, duels between the Bulldogs and Warriors always mean a little more to each squad because of the rivalry’s rich tradition.

Saturday afternoon at Dave Kelly Field, Walton added to the legacy of the legendary showdown when it overcame a 21-point deficit to down Delhi, 38-35.

The Bulldogs held a 35-14 lead late in the third quarter however the Warriors scored the game’s final three touchdowns, plus converted on three two-point conversions, to snatch the victory.

“To be able to come back from a 35-14 score in the second half against a good football team says a lot about the guts of our kids,” Warriors coach Adam Hoover said. “But we don’t want to put ourselves in that situation where we have to do that very often.”

Senior Dylan Jacob was the heartbeat of Walton’s come-from-behind win as No. 19 threw for a score, rushed in a touchdown and made a crucial interception with time ticking down in regulation.

“We started off really bad so our emotions were kinda down but with this being Walton-Delhi, we knew we could come back and win at any point,” Jacob said.

The Warriors scored the game’s first touchdown on a rush from Kaylieb Stanton however Delhi responded with scores from Bryce Bracchy and Logan Aikens to go up 14-8.

Fumbles plagued Walton in the first half and the Bulldogs made sure to capitalize.

Warren Pardee found the endzone twice before halftime, the first on a reception score and the second on a lengthy run, to push Delhi’s lead to 28-8.

“Defensively, we were kind of running around like a chicken with our head cut off at times,” Hoover said. “We had some guys just line up in the wrong spot occasionally and Delhi took advantage of it. Against a good team, they’re going to see ‘wait a second, this hole’s open, we need to run there’ so one of the major adjustments was us just communicating a little better and making sure we’re lined up right.”

The Warriors punched in their second touchdown off a rush just before the buzzer but failed in the two-point conversion, making the score 28-14 at halftime.

Pardee picked up where he left off in the first half, scoring his second rushing touchdown and third overall of the game early in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs had its biggest lead of the game at this point, but Walton’s defensive adjustments combined with strong play on the offensive side set up the dramatic victory for the Warriors.

Walton’s three unanswered touchdowns were highlighted by a Noah Aubin reception that spanned more than half the field.

Trailing 38-35 with under five minutes to play, Delhi had a chance to go back on top when Pardee gave the Bulldogs great field position in the redzone following a screen pass from quarterback Luke Branigan.

That was all for naught however as Jacob picked off Branigan’s next throw in the endzone to kill the drive and all but seal the win for the visitors.

“The quarterback boot-legged out and he just started scrambling and I just knew he would throw it up in the endzone at some point,” Jacob said.

With the win, the Warriors handed Delhi its first loss of the season as well as furthered its rivalry winning streak to nine consecutive games.

Walton (3-1) will visit Bainbridge-Guilford at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4.

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