4 Questions with Walton head coach Daniel Brunner

Today’s interviewee is Walton coach Daniel Brunner, whose team defeated No. 1 Buford 42-35 in the Class 7A second round last week. Walton is a victory from reaching the semifinals for the second consecutive season. The Raiders are 52-21 in Brunner’s six seasons.

1. What did you team do that was the difference in the game? What was the game plan, and what were the key moments? “The game plan was simple – do what we do. Play to win! Be aggressive! Be confident! Put the ball down and ball out! There were too many key moments from our first fourth-down stop on their first possession to our fourth-down conversion that resulted in a touchdown late in the game to narrow it down to what allowed us to win the game. Our guys played with outstanding effort and had great preparation throughout the week, which allowed us to win the game. We have great coaches and great players that put a coordinated effort and showed how complimentary football wins games.”

2. You mentioned one key play – fourth-and-six at Buford’s 43 midway in the fourth quarter, leading 35-28. Can you talk about the decision to go for it, how that came about, the play call and how it played out? “There was no doubt we were going for it. They had no timeouts left, and we knew we could put ourselves into position to control the back end of the game if we could convert. I trust my guys to find a way, and they did.” [Jeremy Hecklinski hit Ayden Jackson for a 43-yard TD pass and 42-28 lead.]

3. You’ve played like one of Class 7A’s best teams all season – except for once vs. North Cobb. How do you explain that anomaly, and how did that game shape your season? “I did not do a good enough job having us prepared to win that game. Plain and simple. We had way too many mistakes. Mental errors, missed assignments, penalties, drops, etc. We were not ready for that moment, and we are working to make sure we are ready this Friday.”

4. You’ve got to get refocused for another good team. What’s the scouting report on Carrollton? “They are 12-0 for a reason. They find ways to win games. They are very well-coached and are very talented. They have a ton of young talent, but they have not played like a young team all year. We will have our hands full but are ready for the challenge.”

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