East Cobb will be the center of attention not only locally but beyond Friday night as two key contests are on tap involving backyard rivals that are off to strong starts this season.
Lassiter (4-0, 0-0) at Walton (5-0, 1-0) -- This highly-anticipated battle of unbeatens in Region 5-AAAAA is the game of the week not just in Cobb but across the state as will air from Raider Valley, with kickoff at 8 p.m.
Lassiter is ranked 8th in Class 5A behind quarterback Eddie Printz, who leads Cobb with nearly 900 yards passing and eight touchdowns. Walton's star was in the Trojans' backfield last year. Junior Tyren Jones is the top rusher in Class 5A with nearly 800 yards and he's run for 200 yards or more three times.
Kell (3-2, 1-1) at Pope (4-0, 1-0) -- A game with important Region 5-AAAA implications takes place at Pope's Hound Pound. Kell struggled to beat Hiram 6-3 last week after being throttled by East Paulding the week before, but the Longhorns' first Cobb opponent won't be any easier.
Pope prevailed in double overtime at Osborne last week in a wild contest that had to be completed at South Cobb High School because of stadium light issues. The Greyhounds also played without versatile quarterback Holland Pope because of an unspecified injury, and his status is not known for tonight's game.
Sprayberry (2-2, 1-0) at East Paulding (5-0, 2-0) -- The Yellow Jackets have crafted a nice two-game winning streak, but this Region 5-AAAA road trip has become roadkill for East Paulding opponents.
The Raiders are ranked No. 5 in Class 4A and are averaging 44.8 points a game and have blanked three opponents.
Sprayberry is coming off a 39-21 over North Paulding in which Tye Richardson scored two touchdowns on special teams. The Jackets have put up some good offensive numbers the last two weeks, but they've got a very daunting challenge as they try to stay with East Paulding and Pope at the top of the region standings.
Wheeler (2-3, 0-1) at Woodstock (4-1, 1-0) -- Wheeler had a two-game winning streak snapped last week at Marietta, and for the second week in a row the Wildcats will play as a homecoming opponent.
Jamal Bryant is one of the top rushers in the county for Wheeler. Woodstock, which is knotted with Walton and Lassiter for Region 5-AAAAA supremacy, struggled to defeat lowly Cherokee 7-0, scoring only in the fourth quarter.
The schedule for the Wildcats gets increasingly worse, with a gauntlet of Etowah, Lassiter and Walton to follow.