MARIETTA -- Walton and Pope faced off in the semifinals of Friday's Lutzie 43 7-on-7 Tournament at Lassiter’s Frank Fillmann Stadium.
The winner was supposed to play in the championship game against either Cherokee or Kell.
Neither team made it that far.
With 3:20 left in the semifinal, an altercation began following a Pope touchdown. Punches could be seen being thrown, players and coaches ran onto the field from both the Pope and Walton sidelines.
As officials stepped in and broke up the fight, both teams were disqualified from the tournament.
Tournament staff said they were not surprised at what happened, because when local teams play one another in these tournaments, tensions can get high.
Pope and Walton will see one another on the field again soon enough. The east Cobb rivals are scheduled to play in Week 3 at Raider Valley.
With the two teams' disqualification, the Cherokee-Kell semifinal became the de facto tournament championship. The Warriors and Longhorns, however, were not notified about what had happened until there were only 45 seconds left to play in their matchup.
“We didn’t know it was going to turn out like it did.” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “We would have loved the opportunity to play one of those other teams in an additional game, but it was great to win it.”
When the teams were informed of the disqualifications, Cherokee led 27-22, and the Warriors went on to win the game 29-22.
Cherokee went 4-0 in pool play and was the No. 1 seed going into the bracketed tournament. After receiving a first-round bye, the Warriors still had to come back from double-digit deficits on two occasions.
Shaw said he had to give credit to quarterback A.J. Swann for his role in the team's success.
“We didn’t have a lot of dropped balls, and that’s the ticket. Shaw said. "The two things that wins these things is don’t give up bombs for easy touchdowns on defense, and then, on offense, don’t drop the ball. We did a great job today.”
Cherokee’s late scoring drive to take the lead left Kell as a 7-on-7 runner-up for the second time this summer. The Longhorns also finished second to Marietta last month in the Corky Kell 7-on-7 Tournament.
“I’m obviously really proud of them.” Kell defensive coordinator Chuck Goddard said. “The thing we just talked about is we have to take the next step. We’re right there on the brink, and we have a chance to have a good football team.”
Kell beat Lassiter 27-2 in the first round and pulled out an overtime win against Sequoyah in the next game.
Pope beat Campbell and Region 7AAAAAA rival Centennial before making it to the semifinals. Walton had two teams in the tournament, with the Raiders' primary team entering the semifinals off a 40-6 win over River Ridge.
Osborne found itself with an opposite result of an overtime game in the first game of the tournament. The Cardinals lost to Gilmer, giving up an interception in the end zone in the first play of the extra session.