Playmakers plentiful for Raiders Bush Enos

A year ago everyone knew that Walton was going to supply heavy doses of running back Tyren Jones against its opponents. The Alabama signee opened up the 2012 season with a five touchdown, 302-yard performance in the Raiders’ 35-27 win over Brookwood. There is more uncertainly surrounding the Jones-less Raiders this season, but head coach Rocky Hidalgo will have talented starters and brackish defense capable of bringing Walton back to prominence.

“I think the thing we are going to have to work on is building some depth along the defensive line, but I think this is going to be a very good defensive team,” admitted head coach Rocky Hidalgo.

However, there will be a changing of the guard on offense. “We are young on the offensive line and we are young at tailback so it is going to take a while for that part of our team to gel,” said Hidalgo. “We are going to have to rely on our quarterback and our wide receivers, and I think you are going to see us throw the ball a little bit more than what most people have.”

Sophomore running back Karekin Brooks will share carries with Breyon Thomas. This will allow weapons like DJ Smith and rising sophomore cornerback Chad Clay to step in at receiver, rather than the backfield. The highly recruited Smith is a three-year starter at defensive back and can make plays in all phases of the game. Fullback Henry Rowling returns with the most playing experience out of any returning offensive player. Rowling will be a huge factor in shaping a consistent run game early in the season.

At tight end is junior Davis Pidgeon, who will stand as a big target for senior quarterback and Louisiana Tech signee Price Wilson. With the weapons on this team spread out from the backfield to the boundaries, this could be a dynamic Walton offense. Wilson was 3-1 as a starter last season.

The Raiders have tremendous team speed this season, especially on defense. Linebacker Dreyon Williams was unblockable in spring practice and will likely see a breakout season. Zach Williams missed last season with an ACL injury and according to Hidalgo will be an “animal” on defense.

Smith and junior Taquar Stewart will move from cornerback to safety this year. Walton will have one of the best safety nets in the state with this duo. Linebacker Imani Parker was injured in the first game of the season last year and returns as another standout.

The schedule will challenge the Raiders in 2013 and Hidalgo recognizes the depth of Region 5-AAAAAA.

“I think the region is going to be very very tough,” said Hidalgo.

The Raiders open up with Peachtree Ridge in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic. The Lions were the only one of the 10 teams in this year’s Corky Kell lineup that did not reach the postseason last year.



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