Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tucker 44, M.L. King 0

Tucker and M.L. King are spread apart by 16 miles, but in terms of their football programs, there’s a continental divide separating these teams.

The Tigers showed why they’re one of the elite squads in Class AAAAAA with high hopes of clinching a state title after recording a 44-0 win versus the Lions at Adams Stadium.

Tucker extended its massive shadow over its fellow DeKalb County neighbor. This overcast includes back-to-back shutouts and a 143-6 advantage on the scoreboard dating back to 2015.

“This was a good performance. We’re just trying to climb that ladder and get better every week,” said Tucker head coach Bryan Lamar. “They’ve [M.L. King] had some coaching changes over there. We just have some momentum. We don’t focus on who we’re playing as much as trying to get better as a team. We scout well and we feel like we have a chance to beat anybody.”

Senior running back Toro Taylor wasted no time in setting off the scoring spree. His 3-yard plunge early in the first quarter paved the way for the Tigers’ offensive masterpiece. Classmate Josh Vann added to the point total when he hauled in a 26-yard touchdown reception, pushing the game to 15-0.

Despite trailing by two touchdowns in the second quarter, perhaps a sense of desperation consumed the M.L. King coaching staff. With the ball on their 21-yard line, the Lions called for a fake punt. The Tigers immediately swallowed the play. Soon afterward, Taylor dashed by the defense and crossed the goal line for a 22-0 lead. This score would hold at halftime.

In the third quarter, Taylor once again showed off his superior agility to reach the end zone. The speedster applied a sharp cutback with a flurry of quick steps to put the game out of reach at 29-0.

“He’s one of the best backs in the state. He was an All-Region player last year. He does a phenomenal job. He can catch the ball. He can return the ball and he definitely can run the ball. He’s a huge part of what we do,” said Lamar.

Taylor’s stellar evening included rushing for 157 yards on 11 carries with three touchdowns. Despite being a focal point of the Lions’ defensive strategy, he found a way to exploit every alignment, bursting through the hole like a rock released from a slingshot.

“We were focused this week. When I get the ball I just try to make a play and put my team in the best situation. It’s really coaching and my offensive line,” said Taylor.

Vann also had a strong outing with three receptions for 65 yards and two scores. Junior quarterback Travon Ford completed six-of-nine passes for 107 yards with two touchdowns.

With the win, Tucker improves to 4-1 and 2-0 in Region 4-AAAAAA. The Tigers hit the road next week to face Lovejoy.

This lopsided defeat snapped M.L. King’s two-game winning streak. The Lions are now 2-3 and 1-1 in region play. M.L. King aims to rebound on the road next week at Drew High School in Clayton County.

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