In our world of drama, suspense, and theatrics it could not have been scripted any better for the Administrators of the Corky Kell High School Football Classic. They truly saved the best for the last High School game to conclude the 2017 weekend kickoff extravaganza. North Gwinnett capitalized on a 76-yard drive that took 13 plays and 4:34 off the clock when D.J. Soyoye went barreling into the end zone from the 1-yard line like a submarine. The drive was full of drama Walton’s Defense put up the fight of their lives. It was time out North Gwinnett with first and ten from the 25-yard line “the one called pay dirt” with 2:28 remaining in the game. Head coach Daniel Brunner needed a strategic planning session to think it through, or he just wanted the fellas to cool their heels allow them to catch their breath and get in tune with their guts. To score was going to require everything they had. On first down, DJ Soyoe broke loose for 17 yards down to the eight-yard line. That was exactly what they needed coming out of a timeout, first and goal from the 8-yard line. Soyoe again for three more yards they were riding him to victory. As any good coach will tell you “if it’s working don’t change a thing” they were gaining yards and taking time off the clock one touchdown was all they needed. On second and goal Soyoye was hit by a wall of defenders and stopped for no gain. Perhaps he was tiring. On third and goal they called on Austin Kirksey he put his nose down and bulldozed for 4 yards down to the one where Jake Stewart corraled him. To preserve time Walton Head Coach called timeout with 1:07 remaining he couldn’t just let them run the clock down and score. He was between the proverbial rock and the hard place. He did the only thing he could. Unfortunately, that gave the workhorse time to rest. Everybody in the stadium knew Soyoye was going to get the ball he blasted up the middle using his short, stocky frame to submarine into the end zone for what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown 31-28 with 1:04 remaining in the game.
To make matters worse North Gwinnett took the kickoff back 29 yards but it was called back for a block in the back. First and Ten from their 33-yard line and the enemy displayed:54 seconds.
Cade Fortin hit J. Cunnington for a 10-yard pass. Another for 4 yards down to the 47-yard line, was the unthinkable possible? North Gwinnett called a timeout to see if they had any treats in their bag. First an incomplete pass then a 16-yard pass to Tyler Goodson. A critical penalty on Walton for sideline interference, so they marched the ball up 5 yards giving them a first and ten. That mistake bailed them out of a third down with six yards to go. If you were, Gwinnett you would call that Christmas in August. The dynamic duo of Fortin to Cunnington struck again this time for a 20-yard pass completion before he stepped out of bounds to stop the clock. The next play was good for 5 yards he was tackled in bounds with seven seconds remaining. In a hurry up mode, Fortin stood up like a champ and hit Tyler Goodson for a 4 yard gain. Immediately they called time out it was third down and one from the 3-yard line with one second remaining in the game. Do you go for the win or the tie? The decision was to go for all the marbles or a fresh start. They chose to go into overtime. One problem BJ Gipson tore through the line and blocked the kick. Walton won the thriller 31-28.
DJ Soyoye had to be the player of the game he carried the ball 20-131 yards, and two touchdowns. He was truly their workhorse when they needed him the most. Austin Kirksey went 10-29, 165 yards and two touchdowns by air and he ran for 69 yards to escape Georgia State Stadium with the win.