Perhaps no win was bigger than Lassiter’s 28-21 triumph over Walton at Raider Valley.
One week after the Trojans (3-3, 2-1) lost a 44-43 contest at Woodstock to begin Region 5AAAAAA play, they were in danger of falling to 0-2 with four region games remaining.
The defending region champion trailed at first, but they managed to make plays on both sides of the ball to rally for the seven-point win.
With Milton’s 24-15 loss to Etowah, Lassiter, Walton and Milton are tied for second in the region, with Etowah remaining on top as the lone unbeaten team.
“It was definitely a big win,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “First, because it was Walton versus Lassiter. They’re our No. 1 rival, so to beat them is really big. Second, we really needed a win after letting one get away against Woodstock.
“We have three teams with one loss, and one undefeated team. This region is wide-open, and anyone can win it. The win is big for morale, too. We have our bye week, so it’s good to get a win heading into that instead of being 0-2 in the region.
“A lot of people in the community were worried. We hadn’t played well, so it was gratifying to see the kids respond and get after it.”
Allatoona had been riding the wave of its defense, posting three shutouts in four games, while the offense totaled more than 40 points per contest. But reality struck the Buccaneers when they dropped a 48-45 overtime setback to fellow Region 5AAAAA unbeaten South Paulding last week.
Allatoona responded well, though, getting a 35-28 triumph over New Manchester on Friday to stay near the top of the region race.
Coupled with South Paulding’s 31-28 loss Friday at North Paulding, the Buccaneers (5-1, 5-1) still have a chance at claiming their second region championship.
Harrison, meanwhile, has found itself in the thick of the Region 4AAAAAA playoff race. After losing 46-14 to North Cobb last week, the Hoyas rebounded with a 38-7 triumph Friday at Kennesaw Mountain.
The victory pushed Harrison (4-2, 3-1) into fourth place in the region behind McEachern and two teams that play one another next Friday — Hillgrove and North Cobb.
Don’t count out Pope either, which suffered a 41-32 loss last week at Cambridge, a second-year varsity program. Despite a 2-4 overall record, the Greyhounds have a winning mark where it counts the most — in Region 7AAAAA (B) — after beating Osborne 49-20 on Friday.
“That was definitely a big win for us,” Pope coach Matt Kemper said. “It was the start of our subregion, so every game is huge. It was a good battle with (Osborne) into the third quarter. We broke it open late and got a win over a quality football team. I’m proud of my guys.
“They responded after a tough week and had to live with that. That week felt like it was nine days long. But I talked to the kids during the week and told them it’s a new season. We can’t relax because they’re all huge the rest of the way.”