NORCROSS - Wesleyan had a tough defense last year, as shown by the way the Wolves contained Washun Ealey and Emanuel County Institute in the Class A state championship game.
Wesleyan's defense may be even better this season, though. Region play begins next weekend and the Wolves still haven't allowed a touchdown.
Kyle Karempelis scored four touchdowns Thursday night at rain-soaked Henderson Stadium, but it was the Wesleyan defense that again made the biggest statement.
With the 30-0 victory over Walker (2-2), No. 1-ranked Wesleyan (4-0) has outscored its non-region victims 141-2 and the defense certainly can't be blamed for the safety against Holy Innocents' a week ago.
Walker didn't get a first down until the fourth quarter and the Wolverines' only scoring threat - set up by a Wesleyan fumble - was stopped by Carter Garrison's fumble recovery inside the 5-yard line.
Wesleyan was just 2-2 in non-region play last season, but then won 12 straight to claim its first state title. This year, the Wolves haven't had anything faintly resembling a real test as they take a 16-game winning streak into next Friday's Region 8-A opener at Lakeview Academy.
"We have only one player going both ways and that is almost unheard of in Class A," defensive coordinator Brian Krehmeyer said.
"Our linebackers are so good and everyone has gotten better around them."
The game against Walker was stopped for 79 minutes at the end of the first quarter because of lightning. Then the weather really got bad, the field soon becoming a shallow lake.
With the rain pelting down, Wesleyan quickly added a safety and a third long TD run by Karempelis to its 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Zander Yost tackled the Walker punter after a muffed snap 1:26 into the second quarter and the free kick led to the Wolves' third TD, with Karempelis breaking off a 46-yard with 10:09 left before halftime
Wesleyan scored twice in the first quarter and both touchdowns came after Walker turnovers in its own territory.
Bobby Fulton intercepted a pass tipped by Brinson Porter and Wesleyan, getting the ball at the 38-yard line, cashed in on a 22-yard run by Karempelis midway in the opening quarter after Yost had ripped off a 16-yard gain.
Then Merritt Hall recovered a fumble at the Walker 32-yard line late in the quarter and Karempelis got the touchdown on a 25-yard scamper.
After his three long TD runs in the first half, Karempelis scored from a yard out in the third quarter and Spencer Short added his fourth extra point despite the difficult footing for a kicker.
Although the Wolves returned only five full-time defensive starters from last year, but that was a little misleading. Included were the team's four leading tacklers - linebackers Fulton, Hall and Garrison, and free safety Devin Stanton.
The biggest losses were tackles Josh Parrish and Andrew Patrick.
But two-way player David Andrews has anchored a group of lineman and have risen to the occasion.