Tucker captured a third round hosting role in the Class AAAAA state playoffs by winning the coin toss with Ware County on Saturday forcing the Gators to leave the swamp on a 200-plus mile trip to Clarkston to take on the No. 1 ranked Tigers in an 8 p.m. kickoff at Hallford Stadium on Friday night.
Ware County (11-1) eliminated Northside-Warner Robbins for the second consecutive season with a 35-7 home victory on Friday night. The Gators eliminated Northside in the semifinals a year ago to advance to the state finals where they lost to Gainesville.
The Tigers are in the state quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season and hold a 42-32 overall record in state playoff competition.
Tucker lost to Northside in the quarterfinals last season on a last minute touchdown pass by the Eagles.
It is the second playoff meeting for the two teams, the last coming in the Class AAAA quarterfinals in the 2010 season. Tucker won that meeting 42-3 before falling in the semifinals to Starr’s Mill.
The winner advances to the state semifinals against the winner of defending state champion Gainesville (11-1) and Mundy’s Miller (8-4).
Tucker is in the state playoffs for the seventh consecutive season
(2007-2013) and 14th in the past 15 (1999-2013). Tucker only missed the
2006 season and has won state titles in 2008 and 2011.
Tucker’s defense is led by senior linebacker Justin Hughes (55 tackles,
7 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss), senior defensive back Dominick Sanders (6 interceptions, one for a touchdown) and junior defensive back Yaquis Shelley (4 interceptions, 2 for touchdowns). Shelley also has three kickoff returns for touchdown, two receiving touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown and one punt return for a score.
Sanders (485 yards rushing) and junior running back Elijah Sullivan (548 yards rushing) each have 11 rushing touchdowns while quarterback Joseph Farrar (501 yards rushing) has six touchdowns on the ground and 12 passing on 745 yards passing.
Tickets for the quarterfinal match up are $12 per person.