Two of those drives lasted longer than 6 minutes, and with Cobb County’s leading passer, the Trojans’ Eddie Printz, standing on the sidelines for most of the second half, there wasn’t enough time for Lassiter’s offense to keep up with the Raiders.
Walton (6-0, 2-0) ran the ball 30 times in the second half and totaled 13 first downs after getting just six in the first half. Tyren Jones, an offseason transfer playing against his old Lassiter teammates, led with 141 yards on 36 carries, while power runner Jim Hogue chipped in with an additional 35 yards.
At the end of the game, televised statewide and labeled by Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo as the “Super Bowl of East Cobb,” it was the Raiders who prolonged their undefeated start. It’s the fifth time Walton has begun a season with six or more consecutive wins.
“We want to make sure we came out in the second half and run the football. That’s what we’re about,” Hidalgo said. “We’ve got two excellent running backs with two different styles. We wanted to change them up. We wanted to give them a little thunder and a little lightning and give them a change of pace.”
Lassiter (4-1, 0-1) also gave Walton some help in extending the Raiders’ drives in the second half.
After the Trojans managed a relatively clean first half, with only three 5-yard penalties, they came apart in the second half with eight penalties for 72 yards. The majority were whistled against the defense.
The game was still up for grabs at the half, with Walton clinging to a 13-10 halftime lead, and Lassiter threatened to take the lead on its opening drive of the second half when it drove 61 yards into Raiders territory. But Lassiter had to settle for a field-goal attempt, and it missed it from 36 yards.
Little did Lassiter know that it would run just six offensive plays before Walton put the Trojans out of contention with a quarterback Parker McLeod’s 1-yard sneak into the end zone with 2:55 left in the game.
The Raiders made big plays on their first drive of the second half, but Lassiter dug itself a hole with penalties before Jones scored from 3 yards out to extend the Walton lead to 20-10.
Walton converted on third-and-11 from its own 48 when McLeod completed a 20-yard pass to Dakota Richardson, but a personal-foul call against the Trojans gave Walton 15 more yards and put it on the Lassiter 14. The Raiders rushed for 9 yards on the next two downs before another personal foul by the Trojans gave them first down on the Lassiter 3. Jones finished the drive on the next snap.
After Lassiter went three-and-out without gaining a yard on its next drive, Walton kept the ball for 6-plus minutes and added seven more points.
Walton got a first down on a 19-yard pass from McLeod to Zach Blaylock, putting the Raiders at midfield, and it got its next first down when Lassiter was whistled for being offsides on fourth-and-3 at the Trojans’ 42. Walton wore down Lassiter afterwards with six straight running plays, ending with a 1-yard touchdown by Hogue.
On Lassiter’s next drive early in the fourth quarter, a personal foul by the Trojans led to another three-and-out, and Walton used the next 7-plus minutes to score its final touchdown.
The Raiders ran 19 plays on that drive and didn’t throw the ball once.
Printz had a busy night through the air for Lassiter, completing 24 of 43 passes, but only 187 yards.
“After we missed that field goal in the third quarter, we really lost our composure, we started getting penalties, we started having busts, and we didn’t play very well,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “I was disappointed by the way we finished the game. We had them right there.”