Game: Woodstock (2-7, 1-3) at Walton (5-4, 3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Walton won 30-7
All-time series: Walton leads 11-5
Prediction: Walton 24, Woodstock 14
With one team playoff-bound and the other wrapping up its season, motivation will be a crucial factor Friday as Woodstock travels to Walton.
Walton (5-4, 3-1) is coming off a comeback victory over Cherokee which put the Raiders in position to claim the Region 4AAAAAAA title. The Raiders would win the region with a win over Woodstock, along with an Etowah win over Roswell.
“If we win, we’ll get a home playoff game, and that’s what we’re focused on,” Walton coach Daniel Brunner said. “Last week was a huge confidence-builder for our guys because Cherokee is a really good team, and we’re just working this week to build on that confidence.”
Walton ran the ball 51 times last week, with Kenny Djaha and K.D. Stokes receiving the bulk of the workload. The duo has combined for 1,114 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground this season, and containing them will likely be a key to victory for Woodstock (2-7, 1-3).
Woodstock’s leading tacklers, Michael Chelena and Andrew Bartolero, will lead that effort, but Bartolero has also been one the Wolverines’ best offensive players of late as well. The senior rushed for more than 200 yards against Lassiter two weeks ago, and although starting tailbacks V’ontae Hampton and Willie Grier should be healthy, Bartolero could be expected to see a few touches on offense as well.
The Raiders’ secondary will need to be ready again facing a Woodstock team that spreads the ball around through the air.
“Coach (Brent) Budde scares you to death with that vertical passing game and the way they use the field,” Brunner said. “(Woodstock has) been in every game, and I think they have some really talented pieces over there. They kept Cherokee from scoring, and that’s a really good offense to keep off the board. Like I’ve been saying all year, the parity within the region is pretty tough.”
Game: Cherokee (6-3, 3-2) at Lassiter (1-8, 0-4), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Cherokee 26, Lassiter 23
All-time series: Lassiter leads 19-8
Prediction: Cherokee 27, Lassiter 3
With a playoff berth already locked up, Cherokee will look to gain a bit of momentum before its second straight postseason appearance.
Cherokee (6-3, 2-2) will travel to Lassiter (1-8, 0-4) on Friday for both teams final game of the regular season.
Lassiter has scored double-digit points only once this season. A matchup against Cherokee’s defense, which has allowed 13.5 points per game and has been one of the better teams in Cherokee County at causing turnovers, is not likely to be favorable for the Trojans.
For Cherokee, a shift in expectations can be viewed as a positive.
Lassiter senior safety Jack Ferguson has been all over the field for the Trojans. Ferguson has 97 tackles and is among the top tacklers in Cobb County.