Aarons steps up to fuel Trojans’ big second half
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
September 07, 2013 02:07 AM | 3213 views | 9 9 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lassiter quarterback Russell Aarons dashes for the end zone in Friday’s game against Sprayberry. Aarons, in for injured starter Will Anderson, accounted for five touchdowns with his feet and arm, and the Trojans pulled away to beat their east Cobb rival. 
<BR>Staff photo by Samantha M. Shal
Lassiter quarterback Russell Aarons dashes for the end zone in Friday’s game against Sprayberry. Aarons, in for injured starter Will Anderson, accounted for five touchdowns with his feet and arm, and the Trojans pulled away to beat their east Cobb rival.
Staff photo by Samantha M. Shal
slideshow
MARIETTA — Jep Irwin insisted that Lassiter didn’t make any second-half adjustments Friday after clinging to a seven-point halftime lead over Sprayberry.

It didn’t seem that way, given the way the third quarter played out.

Lassiter scored 21 unanswered points and held Sprayberry to 2 yards of offense in the period, en route to a 41-23 victory in the “Backyard Brawl” at Frank Fillmann Stadium.

The Trojans (1-1) turned the ball over twice in the first half and committed six penalties for 50 yards, which helped keep the Yellow Jackets (0-3) in the contest. Although the penalties continued in the second half, Lassiter executed better and didn’t commit any turnovers, leading to more scoring drives.

Defensively, Sprayberry’s first three possessions of the third period resulted in three-and-outs, and Lassiter’s hurry-up spread offense provided big plays on three consecutive drives, resulting in a 35-7 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

The Yellow Jackets picked up their first first down of the second half with 10:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, but a 17-yard intentional grounding penalty eventually stalled the drive.

The change of possession resulted in a three-play, 59-yard scoring drive for Lassiter, capped by Grant Daniels’ 57-yard touchdown run. That put the Trojans ahead 41-7 with 6:30 left, marking 28 unanswered points for Lassiter.

“We played a sloppy first half,” Irwin said. “We had some dropped passes, penalties and fumbles. We didn’t play well. I challenged the kids going into the second half, and I’m happy that the seniors were able to get a win against a rival.

“We didn’t make any real adjustments at halftime. We just killed our drives in that first half. We did the same things in the second half but got some explosive plays that helped out. But there were no scheme changes. We just executed better.”

Quarterback Russell Aarons, in for injured starter Will Anderson, played a huge part in the Trojans’ improved execution. Aarons completed 18 of 26 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 60 yards and three scores.

“Russ came in and did a really good job for us (Friday),” Irwin said. “Our starter got hurt during last week’s game against McEachern, and (Aarons) came in and played well then, too. Will should be fine next week, though.”

Aarons led a 14-play, 63-yard drive on Lassiter’s first possession, capped by his 15-yard touchdown run, to put the Trojans ahead 7-0.

Sprayberry’s Ricky Dover recovered a fumble on Lassiter’s next drive that led to Shane Young’s 4-yard scoring run and a 7-all tie with 11:48 left in the second.

One possession later, Aarons found Blake Penter for a 13-yard touchdown toss. A stalled Sprayberry drive resulted in a punt, but Sidney Lindley forced a fumble that was recovered by Jason Simmons, giving the Yellow Jackets new life. However, two sacks from Michael Ballard turned momentum back in the Trojans’ favor as they held a seven-point halftime lead.

Lassiter didn’t have as many issues in the second half. Aarons found Quincy Purdue wide-open in the middle of the field for a 64-yard touchdown. He scored on a 1-yard plunge on the Trojans’ next drive, and ran from 10-yards out on the next possession for the 35-7 margin with 4:28 left in the third.

Daniels had a 25-yard run and a 15-yard reception during the drive to set up Aarons’ score.

Lassiter rolled up 219 yards in the third quarter.

“If we run the ball, we’re fine,” Irwin said. “We played well in the second half, but we still need to clean up things with region games coming up in two weeks. Kell is a very good team, and we play them next week, so we need to be sharper on offense.”

Sprayberry picked up its final 16 points after Shane King ran in for a 3-yard score and Andrew Pierra scrambled into the end zone following a 10-yard dash. A punt over the head of Luke Hardin went out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety for Sprayberry.

Mason Waters had 16 carries for 81 yards for Lassiter and Daniels had five rushes for 86 yards. Perdue caught six passes for 101 yards.

Young totaled 103 yards on 25 carries to pace Sprayberry. King had 12 carries for 57 yards, while Pierra posted seven carries for 42 yards.

“Football is a simple game,” Sprayberry coach Billy Shackelford said. “You play hard every down and you perform. I didn’t have a problem with our effort, but I did have a problem with how we performed. Great teams perform and make plays. We have to finish and we have to perform. Effort is not enough.”
Comments
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M. Jackson
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September 29, 2013
Trojan 2017...guessing you're the parent of a freshman...

I'm ok with a player participating after his parents move...not so ok with them keeping their house in Norcross and renting in Lassiter district just so the kid can "get exposure" to college scouts....

That said...would be a bit more palatable if he were a better player or if there were a tangible means of coming to that conclusion...results so far say no to both.

My kid being taught by a 94 year-old teacher is a bit of a stretch (ridiculous), but these days, I would be happy if he were being taught!

Already had my share of teachers that get kids' attention (regardless of age)...getting a kid's attention is not equivalent to teaching OR learning!

I PRAY you aren't a teacher!

And your last two sentences only show you don't have a CLUE what you're talking about!

Best of luck-I'll be praying for your children!!!
M. Jackson
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September 19, 2013
Lassiter may recruit, but that's the coaches and administration that allow it. Parents and definitely players who have been in the district for years are not happy about it. This is high school-a player shouldn't be allowed to move across counties just to get exposure to college scouts.
Trojan2017
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September 25, 2013
How is it that a player shouldn't be "allowed" to participate after his parents move? If that player is better than the current player it seems to me that it wouldn't be fair to play the less talented player. That's just my opinion. What if your son was being taught by a 94-year old senile teacher rather than the 32 year old innovative young teacher that grabs kid's attention only because he was "in the system" longer. I hear a lot of whining going on. Instead of relying on seniority to play, the kids should hit the weights, track, and some camps during the offseason.
Know your facts
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October 02, 2013
@Trojan2017 you have SO much to learn. The Anderson's, and other (not all) "move-in" families have made their intentions very clear. They moved to Lassiter to showcase their child. You can read about the Anderson's intentions in the Gwinnett papers.

We are not mean-spirited and welcome newcomers to the area, for the right reasons. Not people who move two counties away and rent a house for a year for their son to take...or be given...someone else's position. There was no "competition" for the position, just like Will didn't compete for his immediate starting position on the varsity baseball team. When it's in your face, it's hard to choose not to see it.

This example has been so high profile because of what Jeff Anderson publicly said and the fact that LHS had a pretty dynamic kid in place since 6th grade to QB and who has chemistry with the team. I don't know if Will is D1 material, but how do you know that Aarons doesn't have his own athletic aspirations?

How would you want you kid to be treated?
......what.....?
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October 02, 2013
@Trojan2017.....what......? All I can do with your comment is shake my head. It's not just MOVING, it's about moving to Cobb County from Gwinnett County (who, by the way, has some great high school football programs - guess they could't hang there!), for their kid to be the quarterback in his senior year. They didn't move here from Seattle!

The only advice I can give you is go in eyes and ears open and don't trust anyone. There are people outside of the school who can give you good advice on your child and his/her opportunities/possibilities for college athletics.

Seniority...weights...track? Does your child PLAY football?

By the way, I don't whine, just state the facts.
0102030405
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September 18, 2013
"So bad each year"? Not the case from 05-09 when sprayberry won 2 times in that 4 year span. Plus, it's simple- you recruit, we dont.
10 Year Trojan
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September 09, 2013
Russell Aarons should be the starter.
Jacket Roast
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September 07, 2013
Why do people call Sprayberry a Rival for Lassiter? Lassiter beats Sprayberry so bad each year DFACS has to do a follow up.

When Sprayberry scored they didn't know what side of the field to line up for kick off. That's how seldom they get into the end zone against the Trojans.

I laughed my tail off when I saw the Jacket's Coaches jumping up and down celebrating a Lassiter holding penalty. Really guys?

Is it really something to celebrate when your first string players score on JV kids late in the fourth quarter? Those same JV kids are going to come back next year and make it 7 in a row.
old school trojan
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September 10, 2013
It's a rivalry that goes back to when the schools first opened. It's only become lopsided since Lassiter started using everyone else's players. The lassiter program isn't some storied dynasty.
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