NETTLETON – The journey to his senior season has had many destinations for Ty Walton, where all the twists and turns led straight to Nettleton.
Walton’s football days began at East Union, a school he first attended in the fourth grade. But when his dad, Kevin, resigned as the Urchins’ head coach after five seasons, the next stops on the tour became a whirlwind.
Across the summer of 2020, the Waltons looked poised to settle at East Webster. Then six weeks later, a change of heart led them to Fulton before ultimately landing at Olive Branch for Ty’s junior season.
Now, the young quarterback has his feet planted in Nettleton, where he expects to stay for a promising season.
“It’s a big move. I’m still having to get used to everything but I think when it’s all said and done, I’m going to have a great season,” Walton said. “We have a lot of athletes at Nettleton. And coming back down to 3A ball, the pace of the game will be a lot slower.”
Life on the run
Walton certainly didn’t struggle in Class 6A at Olive Branch, but he had to find a new avenue of success. At East Union, the gunslinger picked apart defenses with his arm, throwing for 3,853 yards and 48 touchdowns over his freshman and sophomore seasons.
But a change to the flexbone option offense at Olive Branch put his arm on the shelf and his feet to work.
Walton averaged 10.5 yards per carry for 761 yards and eight rushing touchdowns for the Conquistadors, who went 5-5 and missed the playoffs.
A year in the run-heavy system forced Walton to become an even better athlete, something that when added with his arm talent, should make him a complete quarterback at Nettleton.
“It will allow us as a team to kind of stay in the same mold that we were last year in having the quarterback be involved as a runner, where in other times in the past I haven’t done that as much, depending on the skill set of the player at that position,” Nettleton coach John Keith said. “He’s definitely somebody we feel comfortable with having the ball in his hands but also being able to distribute to the other guys as well.”
Walton is tasked to replace Davis Oswalt, who had much success in his lone year as the Tigers’ quarterback. Oswalt completed 50% of his passes for 1,206 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while adding 499 yards and seven touchdowns on 66 carries.
Nettleton went 7-3 with a second-round loss in the 3A playoffs to North Panola.
The Tigers bring back most of their other skill players, like running back Roderick Patterson and their two-leading receivers, Anterion Venson and Zavian Dilworth, who combined for 811 yards and 12 touchdowns – six apiece.
Walton said that he’s been working with the team all summer to build that chemistry with his new weapons, and hopes to prove to the whole team that’s he’s capable to help them win.
“I want to prove to them that I can do it,” Walton said. “I want to show them I’m an athlete that can get it done.”