The scene at Walton High School's Raider Valley tonight figures to be a sold-out sea of red.
That's because the Walton school community has been asked to observe a "Red Out" for the Raiders' first home game on national television.
Special commemorative T-shirts have been sold all week leading up to the 9 p.m. kickoff between Walton and Region 5-AAAAAA rival Milton.
The start time is later than usual to accommodate the national television cameras of cable outlet ESPNU.
Two of the top running backs in the state will be squaring off in Walton's Tyren Jones, who's headed to Alabama, and Peyton Barber of Milton, who will be attending Ole Miss.
There are plenty of playoff implications on the line for both teams. Walton (5-2, 3-1) is coming off a come-from-behind, 24-23 win at Wheeler last week, as the Raiders trailed by 13 points in the fourth quarter. Milton also 5-2, 3-1.
"It's about winning the game," Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo told The Marietta Daily Journal about whether the television showcase has been a distraction this week. "At practice, no one even mentioned ESPN. We are just thinking about trying to beat Milton."
In other games invoving East Cobb teams:
- Lassiter, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA, plays host to Wheeler. The Trojans are 7-0 and 4-0 in Region 5-AAAAA; the Wildcats are 4-3 and 1-3 after last week's tough loss to Walton.
- Pope looks to stay hot in a Region 7-AAAAA Subregion B game at Riverwood. The Greyhounds (5-2, 2-0) have won five games in a row. Riverwood (6-2, 1-2), has dropped two of its last three games.
- Kell also is hoping to continue a hot hand in the same region as it plays host to Sprayberry. The Longhorns are 6-1, 2-0; the Yellow Jackets are 2-5, 1-1.