Game: Lassiter (1-2) at Pope (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Pope 27, Lassiter 6
All-time series: Lassiter leads 19-10
Prediction: Pope 24, Lassiter 10
East Cobb rivals Lassiter and Pope are both trying to go 2-0 in Region 6AAAAAA as they face off Friday at the Pope Multi-Sport Complex.
Lassiter (1-2) defeated South Cobb last week for its first win of the season.
“It was obviously a big week for us,” Lassiter coach Sean Thom said. “We talked to the young men about being 1-0, they went out and it wasn’t pretty all the time, but they got the job done.”
Lassiter’s rushing game played a big role in the win. The team was led by Bryson Harrison and Jaheem Murray, who combined for 97 yards and four touchdowns.
“(Jaheem) he’s a heck of a kid, he’s really just a leader,” Thom said. “He’s small, he’s a little jitterbug. He left a lot of yards out there, he did a phenomenal job.
“Our quarterback has done a heck of a job. He’s obviously kind of our leader and Bryson’s done a really good job getting the offense going, but at the same time, it makes it a whole lot easier on him when we’re able to run the ball.”
While Thom was happy with the win, he said his team still has areas to improve.
“We’ve got to continue to work on the fundamentals,” he said. “(Like) blocking, tackling, playing a clean game, no penalties, no turnovers and then (playing in) all three phases, really just playing complimentary football.
“I still don’t think we’ve played even close to our best football yet, so we just got to go out and execute and do our jobs and not try to do too much. And I think if we’re able to do that we’ll be happy at the end of the night.”
Thom is looking for his first win against the Greyhounds.
“It’s going to be an intense game,” Thom said. “You got two teams, let alone the rivalry, you got two 1-0 ball clubs that are looking to go 2-0.”
Pope (2-1) is coming off of a 30-24 victory against Kell last week.
The Greyhounds have been led by Patrick Lowe, Phillip Sims Jr. and Cam Bleshoy on offense. Lowe is 40-for-61 with 583 yards passing and three touchdown passes. Bleshoy is the leading receiver with 215 yards and two touchdowns, and Sims has 261 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
“Patrick, he’s a laid-back type of guy and he doesn’t let a whole lot of things affect him,” coach Tab Griffin said. “Phil Sims, he’s kind of our team leader on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively.”
While the team was excited to start region play with a win, Griffin said it is focused on the week ahead.
“Obviously that’s a huge, good start in the region,” he said. “After we got that one, we just kind of went to work. We talked about the game Monday at our team meeting and just put it to bed and started focusing on Lassiter and trying to go 1-0 this week.”
Griffin said he is looking for the team to minimize mistakes.
“We had a blocked punt, we gave up an onside kick, we had a kickoff return for a touchdown, so we just got to eliminate those mistakes,” Griffin said. “If we want to get ourselves into the playoff hunt then we can’t be having those types of big mistakes.”