Walton was missing injured star running back Tyren Jones for much of the game, but D.J. Smith continued to prove his star quality for the Raiders on Friday.
He ran for two touchdowns and caught another touchdown pass as the Raiders defeated Etowah 21-16. Jones left the game in the first quarter with a knee sprain and did not return.
While the win solidifed the No. 2 playoff seed from Region 5-AAAAAA for Walton (7-2, 5-1), it also helped the Raiders' East Cobb rivals.
Wheeler improved to 5-4 and 2-4 in region play with a 31-9 win over Woodstock on Friday, keeping alive post-season chances with a week left in the regular season. But in order for the Wildcats to seal the final region playoff spot, they'll need to do more than defeat Cherokee next week.
Etowah (4-5, 3-3), which beat Wheeler, must lose to Lassiter, and Woodstock (3-6, 3-3) must lose to Milton.
Lassiter, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA, clinched the Region 5-AAAAAA title and the No. 1 playoff seed with a 28-14 win over Roswell. The Trojans are 9-0 and 6-0 on the season.
In Region 7-AAAAA Subregion B, Kell clobbered Pope 31-3 in a game that determined the No. 1 playoff seed. Kell is 8-1 and 4-0 and will play host to Forsyth Central next week. Pope, 6-3, 3-1, will also play at home against Northview.
The Walker School remained undefeated in Region 6-A Subregion B by downing Mt. Paran 20-3. The Wolverines (9-0, 6-0, who have easily wrapped up a playoff spot, conclude the regular season with a region play-in game next week.
Game coverage from The Marietta Daily Journal:
- Walton 21, Etowah 16
- Wheeler 31, Woodstock 9
- Lassiter 28, Roswell 14
- Kell 31, Pope 3
- Sprayberry 23, Osborne 17
- Walker 20, Mt. Paran 3
Region standings from Georgia Prep Country: