What might have been billed an offensive treat turned into a defensive struggle.
The Lassiter Trojans nursed a slight lead in the second half Friday and used their defensive muscle to hold off the Walton Raiders and claim a 21-9 victory.
The so-called "East Cobb Super Bowl" featured two high-powered offenses and teams ranked in the Top 10 in Class AAAAAA. But the Trojans forced three turnovers, two of them from defensive back Patrick Levandoski at critical times, to stave off Walton's rally and win their Homecoming game.
Levandoski intercepted a pass as Walton was driving deep in the fourth quarter, and also forced a fumble by Raiders running star Tyren Jones that halted another possible touchdown drive with the game on the line.
As his teammate, Ryan Gildea, told The Marietta Daily Journal, about the turnovers: "I don't think you understand how critical those were for us."
Walton's been a banged-up team offensively, especially on its line, and starting quarterback Parker McLeod missed the game. Jones, who also has been nursing a sore hand, ran for 189 yards, but as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, only 53 came after halftime.
Lassiter, ranked No. 2, had lost seven of its last nine meetings with sixth-ranked Walton, including the state semifinals a year ago. By improving to 6-0 and 3-0 in Region 5-AAAAAA, the Trojans gained a strong advantage in the jockeying for playoff position.
Walton falls to 4-2 and 2-1 in region play.
In other action involving East Cobb-area teams Friday:
- Khalil Bell scored two rushing touchdowns as the Kell Longhorns (5-1, 1-0 7-AAAAA B) cruised over previously undefeated Riverwood (5-0, 0-1).
- The Pope Greyhounds (4-2, 1-0) also opened play in the same subregion with a 21-0 win over Osborne (1-5, 0-1), as Itabari Mason ran for two touchdowns.
- The Wheeler Wildcats (4-2, 1-2 Region 5-AAAAAA) rebounded from a two-game losing streak to edge Roswell (1-5, 0-3) by a 17-14 score. J.D. Barron kicked the winning field goal from 49 yards out in the final two minutes.