That last touchdown came after LaFayette had closed to 28-21 midway in the fourth quarter and Cartersville (9-1, 4-1 in Region 7B-AAA) responded with a nine-play drive capped by Cochran's 17-yard run to put the contest out of reach.
Cane head coach Frank Barden complimented his players immediately afterward for that drive, comparing them with some of the school's great teams of the past.
"The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes are back," Barden said. "You took control of the ball game and finished like you're supposed to finish."
He said a number of Canes stepped up in place of injured players and enabled the Canes to take control.
Cochran was one of those who stepped up due to the injury of Jamie Jackson, who suffered a mild concussion last week against Pickens County and is expected to play in the playoff game.
"That's probably why it's fun to come and watch this football team," Barden added. "There are no superstars and every week someone else steps up. They are a lot of kids playing with heart."
The win sets up a Friday night game for the No. 3-seeded Canes against Cedar Grove, the No. 2 seed from Ellenwood, just southeast of Atlanta, near Forest Park. The Saints (6-4, 5-1 in 5B-AAA) drew the Canes by virtue of their 17-6 loss to Grady.
Cartersville began taking control in the first half as it held LaFayette to a first down its first drive, then started a 12-play touchdown drive from its own 17.
The Canes put the ball in the hands of Kendall Martinez nine of those plays and he ripped off 48 yards, the last rush a 3-yard touchdown effort late in the quarter that put Cartersville up 7-0 after the PAT was added.
The teams traded possessions the next two series and LaFayette took back over at its 22-yard line with seconds remaining in the period.
A 17-yard pass play moved it to the 39 but the Ramblers fumbled on the next play to kill the scoring drive.
Neither team did much offensively until after the Ramblers punted to Cochran at the Cane 28 late in the second quarter. He returned that punt 38 yards to the Ramblers' 34. The Canes moved the ball eight yards in two plays and Cochran scored his first TD of the night on a 28-yard run.
The Canes held the next series but their pass was picked off with 1:11 showing and the Ramblers returned it to the Cane 30. LaFayette took four plays to get on the scoreboard and closed to 14-7 with 0:28 seconds remaining.
The Canes rushed down the field in the quarter's final seconds and got close enough to try a 40-yard field goal but it fell short.
Still, Cartersville took some momentum into the locker room and it showed after the break as the Canes scored on their first play from scrimmage -- from the 40 -- on a 60-yard jaunt by Cochran, who broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and then simply outran the defenders.
LaFayette moved swiftly downfield in answer but a 10-yard pass spilled out of its receiver's hands in Cartersville territory and the Canes got the ball back at the 21.
Cartersville ran the next eight plays, the longest a 36-yard effort by Cochran, and he capped it with his third touchdown of the night, a five-yard run that gave the Canes their biggest lead of the night, 28-7.
The margin didn't last long, however, as LaFayette took two plays to cover 80 yards, the second on a 60-yard pass from Josh Morgan to Devarus Porter, and the home team pulled to 28-14 after the extra point was made.
Cartersville tried to bury the Ramblers on the next series but its 12-play drive ended with a fumble at LaFayette's 4-yard line.
The Ramblers then covered 96 yards in seven plays -- highlighted by a 56-yard touchdown strike from Morgan to Demarcus Simpson.
The PAT closed the game to 28-21 and the Canes took over the game the next series.
Coach Barden said he was proud of how Cartersville won, and for battling all 48 minutes of the game.
"Our offensive line, I thought, did a good job," Barden said. "Our defense did a great job and it was a great team win for us."
He said he had spoken to some members of past Cartersville teams and they also applauded the team's effort.
"One of them said that's Cartersville football," he said. "It's good to see. I'm proud of them, very proud."
SCORING BY QUARTER
1 2 3 4 F
CAR 7 7 14 7 35
LAF 0 7 7 7 21
CAR Kendall Martinez 3-yd run (Preston Slemp kick) 3:05
CAR Talique Cochran 28-yd run (Slemp kick) 2:51
LAF 12-yd pass (Sam Clayton kick) 0:28
CAR Cochran 40-yd run (Slemp kick) 11:36
CAR Cochran 5-yd run (Slemp kick) 4:48
LAF (2) 40-yd run (Clayton kick) 4:21
LAF (9) 56-yd pass from No. 7 (Clayton kick) 6:29
CAR Cochran 17-yd run (Slemp kick) 2:13
1st downs 17 11
Rushes-yds 47/376 14/151
Passing yds 49 245
Comp-Att-Int 4/13/1 13/26/0
Total yds 425 396
Penalties 5-40 5-45
Fumbles- lost 1-1 1-2
Punts-yds 2/94 4/145
Rushing -- Cartersville: Talique Cochran 21-243, Kendall Martinez 19-104, Marcus Jones 4-30, Tyler Will 1-3; LaFayette: Devarus Porter 14-151, Demarcus Simpson 3-9, Sheldon Covington 1-7, Dustin Watkins 1-3, Koran Dyer 1-1, Josh Morgan 1- (-)14.
Passing -- Cartersville: Tyler Will 4-13-49-1; LaFayette: Josh Morgan 13-26-245.
Receiving -- Cartersville: Reggie Douglas 3-45, TJ Turner 1-4; LaFayette: Demarcus Simpson 3-131, Koran Dyer 2-24, Jordan Teems 1-22, Jacob Gill 1-20, Devarus Porter 1-4.