The Trojans clamped down defensively in the second half and made the plays needed offensively to come from behind and beat east Cobb archrival Walton 28-21 at Raider Valley.
Both teams now have identical records — 3-3 overall, 2-1 in region play — going into their bye weeks. Along with Milton, they are both stuck in a three-way tie for second in the region behind undefeated Etowah.
“We pulled out a gritty, tough win, and that’s something that we haven’t done all season,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “We didn’t have a ton of penalties, we didn’t give up the big play, and when you’re on the road, that’s what you got to do.”
The Trojans evidently had plans to contain K.K. Brooks and Walton’s running game, making the Raiders beat them with the pass.
That plan of attack worked as Walton quarterback Price Wilson came away with 317 passing yards, and the Raiders were held to 65 rushing yards as a team — including 14 yards of negative ground. Brooks, who came into the game averaging 137 yards, was limited to 77 yards on 27 carries.
With Brooks kept in check, Walton passed the ball effectively in the first half and had 217 yards through the air at the break. But once Lassiter played tighter coverage in the second half and applied more pressure in the backfield, the Trojans held the Raiders scoreless until their final drive.
Once the second half began, Lassiter quarterback Will Anderson, who was 12-of-17 for 275 yards and three touchdowns passes, began showing what he could do.
Every time Anderson appeared beaten on Lassiter’s opening drive of the second half, he answered with a big play.
Facing a third-and-19 from his own 20-yard line after getting sacked for a 9-yard loss by Walton’s Kyle Whitaker, Anderson went deep to Duby Nwaubi for a 69-yards that put the Trojans on the Walton 11. After getting sacked again on the next play for another 9-yard loss — this time by Ryan Bell — Anderson hit Quincy Perdue for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-all.
And after two Walton drives stalled with a punt and a missed 52-yard field goal attempt, Anderson threw a screen pass to Oris Lawhorn, who turned it into an 80-yard score that gave Lassiter its first lead with 3:32 left.
Walton made more mistakes in the second half to benefit Lassiter, but its most serious one came early in the fourth quarter, and it helped the Trojans gain separation.
After Walton appeared to recover a muffed punt by Lassiter, it turned out that the Raiders had been flagged for interfering with the punt returner. The subsequent 15-yard penalty put the Trojans on Walton’s 29, and Anderson hit Perdue for a 29-yard touchdown on the next play.
“They did a great job in the second half,” Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo said. “We made too many mistakes to win this game, and that’s what it came down to.”
With nearly 9 minutes left in the game after Lassiter’s final score, Walton couldn’t close in on the Trojans until Wilson hit Maurice Gibson for a 22-yard touchdown at the 1:20 mark.
Lassiter recovered Walton’s onside kick and ran out the clock.