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Sutton Smith and Walton welcome in North Cobb to Raider Valley for what could be the de facto Region 3AAAAAAA championship game.

Game: North Cobb (5-1, 1-0) at Walton (4-1, 1-0), 8 p.m. (PTV)

Last year: North Cobb 35, Walton 18

All-time series: North Cobb 35, Walton 18

Prediction: North Cobb 49, Walton 46

The two best teams in Cobb County get together as Walton hosts North Cobb in a game that could ultimately decide the Region 3AAAAAAA championship.

North Cobb enters the contest as the No. 3 ranked team in the state in Class AAAAAAA and are coming off an impressive 42-14 victory over Harrison in its 3AAAAAAA opener.

“We can start off 2-0 in the region,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “With Marietta losing last week (to North Paulding) — not that it puts pressure on you, but it makes it even more of an important game, because it makes you 2-0 and Walton and Marietta have a loss, it puts you closer to your goal of hosting a state playoff game. So, our goal is not to look at everything else that is going on in the region, but it is what it is. Walton is a very well-coached team and they’re a very talented football team and we have our hands full this Friday night.”

Quarterback Malachi Singleton will lead a potent North Cobb offense after passing for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Harrison.

On defense, the Warriors look for another strong performance from cornerback Marquis Groves-Killebrew, who had a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown as well as five tackles in the Harrison game.

Meanwhile, Walton in close behind the Warriors in the AAAAAAA rankings at No.6 and got its region schedule off to a strong start last week with a 52-35 win over Hillgrove.

“It’s a region game and we take all of them seriously,” Walton coach Daniel Brunner said. “Our goal on Friday is to be 1-0. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us and North Cobb is one of the most talented teams I’ve seen, definitely one of the most talented teams in the state this year. I don’t look at it as any bigger than any other region game, because we still have a long road ahead of us, even if we find a way to win this one on Friday night. We’re just trying to approach it as we have all year long and just take it one step at a time.”

Running back Sutton Smith and quarterback Zak Rozsman lead an explosive Walton offense that gained 566 yards against Hillgrove. Smith led that effort with 108 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.

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